Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Police scored a major success in its anti-Maoist operation in the state with the gunning down of a top Maoist leader, Rakesh Sodi, inside Pakanaguda forest near Khairput hill in Bonda Ghat area of Malkangiri district on Wednesday morning.
Informing this to the media here, Director General of Police (DGP) BK Sharma said Sodi was an active member of the Odisha Andhra Border Special Zonal Committee and the commander of the military platoon of the outlawed outfit.
“A native of Ghattapada village in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh, he was carrying a cash reward of Rs 8 lakh on his head,” Sharma added.
Sodi is believed to have been involved in an ambush in Manthriam on July 8, 2008, in which 17 SOG jawans, including the RI SK Mishra, were killed, and a landmine blast in Janiguda in the neighbouring state in 2012 in which four BSF personnel, including the commandant were killed, the DGP added.
Earlier on Tuesday night, Malkangiri SP Khilari Rishikesh had led a joint combing operation by Special Operation Group (SOG) and District Voluntary Force (DVF) personnel inside Pakanaguda forest.
While the search operation was underway, Maoists hiding in the area fired on security personnel, who retaliated immediately. During the hour-long gunfight, a DVF jawan, Jayaram Kabasi, was killed and another jawan, Rama Durua, was injured.
Unable to resist the crossfire, the Maoists fled the area.
The injured jawan has been shifted to a private hospital in Visakhapatnam for treatment.
The SP told the media that around 50-60 Maoists were present inside the forest when the encounter took place.
This was the first major operation by the state police after a review meeting by the Union Home minister Amit Shah on Left-wing extremism (LWE) in 11 Maoist-prone states in New Delhi recently. This was also also the first major success after BK Sharma assumed charge as the new DGP of Odisha.