, 46, with 155 offences against him, including 41 murders and 78 encounters, was among the five Maoists killed in a fierce gunbattle with the Crack-60 commandos in the Khobramenda forest of Gadchiroli district in eastern Maharashtra on Monday. He carried a reward of Rs 25 lakh on his head.
An AK 47, a 303 rifle, an 8 mm, 12 bore rifle, detonators and a laptop were among the materials seized. Apart from the five killed, two bodies of their colleagues were dragged away by the Maoists from the place.
Hichami, secretary of the Maoists' North Gadchiroli division and a Dandakaranya special zonal committee member (DKSZCM), was the mastermind behind the Jambhulkheda blast in 2019 in which 15 police personnel and one civilian were killed.
It is learnt that Hichami was upset over his wife Ramko's questionable encounter death and had planned the Jambhulkheda blast and Dadapur arson as revenge.
Prior to the blast, the Naxals under Hichami had torched more than 30 vehicles in Dadapur village.
Hichami's bodyguard Asmita Pada too was killed.
Pada was part of the Tipagarh Local Organization Squad (LOS).
Another senior Maoist cadre, Sukhdeo Neitam, deputy commander of Tipagarh LOS, was among the five gunned down. He too had five murder cases against him.
The other two Maoist casualties were Amar Kunjam of Kasnasur LOS and Sujata Atram of Platoon 15.
Sujata too had 31 offences against her, including 11 murders.
A substantial number of Maoists had assembled in the northern part of the district with sabotage plans as a part of their ongoing Tactical Counter Offensive Campaigns (TCOC).
Gadchiroli police commandos too had stepped up their counter domination exercises in remote corners of the district and where Maharashtra shares boundaries with Chhattisgarh and Telangana.
Search operations are on in the locality.
DIG, Naxal range, Sandip Patil, said operations were already underway in the northern part of the district after information was received about the movement of Maoists in that stretch.
"After the initial encounter around two days ago, our first party had returned. Then, the Naxals did not expect us to induct a second team so soon. This had caught them by surprise," he said.
"Today, we surrounded the Naxals from all sides and left them with minimal exit points. The Naxals tried to flee through a narrow stretch and got hit," said Patil