Bhubaneswar/Parlakhemundi: Top Maoist leader Pradip Majhi alias Gobind, a close associate of Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda and allegedly involved in the abduction of two Italian tourists, was killed in a fierce encounter with the police in Odisha's Gajapati district on Monday. Director General of Police Prakash Mishra described the killing of Majhi, considered next in hierarchy to Panda, as a major success.
Majhi (25) was the military in-charge of Panda and in the rank of divisional committee member, the DGP said adding he was operating as the deputy to Panda, who formed the Odisha Maobadi Party (OMP) in 2012. The slain Maoist was active in Gajapati, Ganjam, Rayagada and Kandhamal and a total of 46 cases, including murder, were pending against him, he said.
Majhi was allegedly involved in attacks of Nayagarh armoury, R Udaigiri police station, killing of VHP leader Swamy Laxmanananda Saraswati, kidnapping of Italian tourists, killing of two home guards and torching of mobile towers. On a tip off, personnel of district voluntary force (DVF) of Gajapati and Ganjam districts launched a joint raid in Karanjaguda forests near Kendupada under Mohana police station and heavy exchange of fire ensued with ultras.
"During search in the area later, police had found a body. On verification, the deceased was identified as Pradip Majhi, a native of Karadapada under Gudari police station of Rayagada district," Superintendent of Police CS Meena said. Other Maoists managed to escape. An Italian made pistol, two loaded magazines, one SBML Gun, a kit bag with food, personal belongings and Maoist literature were found on the site.
Majhi had joined Odisha Chatra Manch of CPI (Maoist) in 2003 when he was a student of class VIII. He worked with Udaya, divisional committee secretary of Bansadhara division of Maoists and Azad before working with Panda, the DGP said.