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What will happen to the Mishra case?
Krishnakumar P and Vicky Nanjappa | February 27, 2009 17:12 IST
The Jharkhand police took India's second most-wanted Maoist Pramod Mishra to Bangalore's Forensic Science Laboratory for a narco-analysis test on Friday, only to find that the doctor who administers the tests has been dismissed from service.
At the time of writing, the police was yet to decide whether to take their dangerous captive back to Jharkhand or to some other centre to conduct the tests.
"We will have to speak to senior officials before we can decide on the next course of action," a senior official told rediff.com from Ranchi.
A permanent member of the 14-strong politburo of the Communist Party of India-Maoists, Mishra, who is also known as Agni and Van Bihari, is the second senior-most leader in the Maoist hierarchy after party general secretary Ganapati [Images].
His narco-analysis test was keenly awaited by the police of several states, including Bihar, Orissa, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.
"Him being a politburo member, we were hoping to get a lot of valuable information from him. We wanted to know about their propaganda machinery, and the locations o their arms and ammunition dumps. Mainly, we wanted to know about their organization tree. Not much is known about how they are structured and Mishra being a top leader, we were hoping to crack their composition of their national set-up," Bihar Inspector-General of Police (Operations) S K Bharadwaj.
A senior intelligence officer from Chhattisgarh, where also Mishra is wanted but not for offences as major as in the other states, said the key information that the police would like to extract from Mishra is about the Maoist operations in Delhi [Images] and its neighbouring regions.
"In their 9th Congress held in 2007, this Van Bihari was made in-charge of Delhi operations. They wanted to set-up an urban combat unit in Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan. Not much is known about those plans. My guess is
FSL sources corroborated this. They said the brief given to the ousted Dr Malini was to ask Mishra about the Delhi operations. "The police team wants to know about the Naxals' operations in New Delhi. Though he has not said anything about it, they suspect, he has set up a unit based in Delhi. They also wanted to find out what plans he had for Delhi. The police had no choice but to go in for a narco as he was proving to be extremely tough to crack," the sources in the FSL said.
It is said that since he was trapped on May 11, several teams from various states have interrogated Mishra, who is credited with orchestrating the famous Jehanabad jailbreak and is also alleged to have a hand in Jamsehdpur MP Sunil Mahato's brutal murder, but have been able to extract little information from him.
The police used the Maoist tactic of entrapment to capture Mishra, who was the fourth high-level catch in Bihar and Jharkhand in a highly successful 2008 for the two states.
They first floated a story that his son, who they had earlier arrested in another operation, had been abducted and talks were on for ransom. When Mishra surfaced at his brother-in-law's house at Dhanbad in Jharkhand to try and negotiate a settlement with the 'kidnappers' he was arrested.
Though he expressed readiness to talk whenever his son's name was mentioned, he would soon bottle up when questions about the Maoist structure were posed.
"He even used to abuse the police officers questioning him," one officer said.
While in jail, the rebel in him often surfaced, offials said. He is known to have demanded that the prison code be followed and the prisoners be given their privileges according to the code.
"In November, while in Dhanbad jail, he even sent a petition demanding the right to celebrate the Russian Revolution on November 7!" an official said.
The security forces have been shifting him from one jail to another ever since his arrest.
"That is because of a number of reasons like custody, interrogation and mainly security," said a senior officer from Aurangabad, from where he was shifted two months ago to Buxar for security reasons.