(Eds: Adding a paragraph with defense''s argument)
Pune, Mar 17 (PTI) A 32-year-old surrendered Naxal deposed before a court here on Wednesday in the ongoing trial against Maoists Arun Bhelke and his wife Kanchan Nanavare, who died at a hospital earlier this year.
The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad arrested the couple in 2014, alleging that they were members of the ''Golden Corridor Committee of Maoists'' and trying to recruit cadres from slums.
The couple are charged under terrorism-related provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Krushna Dorpate, who hails from Gadchiroli, was part of the Maoist movement since the age of 12 and surrendered before the police in 2014.
According to district government pleader and public prosecutor Ujjwala Pawar, Dorpate in his statement said that he had joined the movement when he was 12 and top fugitive Maoist Milind Teltumbde promoted him as a divisional committee member.
The public prosecutor said when Dorpate was asked during the deposition if he knew Bhelke, he responded in affirmative and told the court that he (Bhelke) is known as ''Rajan'' within the movement.
"He also told the court that Bhelke and his deceased wife would work in the urban areas and spread the movement in the urban pockets, recruiting youth," Pawar said.
Dorpate had informed the court that Bhelke would come to the jungle, meet Teltumbade regularly and inform him about the progress of the movement in the urban areas.
"Dorpate also told the court that Bhelke used to ask him about their training in the jungles," he said.
The defense counsel advocate Rohan Nahar argued that Dorpate had never met Bhelke and being a surrendered rebel, he was deposing what the police had asked him to.
Bhelke''s wife, Nanaware, one of the accused in the case, died in Sassoon General Hospital following a prolonged illness in January this year. PTI SPK ARU ARU