Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Breakthrough in NAXAL rocket launchers case

Special Correspondent
Mastermind behind case Srinivas Reddy and wife Sudharani surrender to police

HYDEERABAD: The Andhra Pradesh police on Tuesday got a major breakthrough in the investigation of the rocket launchers case when a top naxal operative Srinivas Reddy, the mastermind behind the fabrication of rocket launchers being used by rebels, surrendered himself to the police in Warangal district.

His wife, identified as Sudharani, also surrendered herself to the police.

Reddy is also known as Raghu, Tech Madhu and a host of other names.

The surrender came in the most dramatic circumstances. Accompanied by a local religious leader, the couple is stated to have walked into Gudur police station in Warangal district. When they could not find the Station House Officer, they went to the Circle Office of the station and identified themselves. Police officials, who initially doubted their claims that they were the most wanted couple in the rocket launchers case, took them in custody.

The couple, wanted by Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu police, was on the run ever since the State police seized a huge consignment of launchers and rockets being transported into the jungles in Mahabubnagar district in the first week of September.

The naxal couple, who had been living in a rented a nondescript house in Ambattur area of Chennai since 2002, commissioned several lathe machine workers in Chennai to fabricate different parts of the rocket launchers.

They had used the lorry transport companies, mainly Kranthi Transport, to send across the `finished' products to Mahabubnagar and Prakasam districts.

Sources told The Hindu that Reddy and his wife Sudharani walked into an interior police station in Warangal stating that they wanted to surrender.

Sudharani is stated to be suffering from ill-health. The whereabouts of the surrendered couple, who could provide a great insight into the armed might of the Maoist party, have been kept as a closely guarded secret.

The couple, it is believed, is being driven to Hyderabad for a detailed debriefing session by a special unit of the Intelligence department, detailed to investigate the rocket launchers case. The Q Branch of Tamil Nadu is also on the lookout for the couple after they escaped on a motorcycle from their rented house on September 9.

The police here expected that the couple could surrender themselves after they seized the personal diary of Raghu, entries of which indicated that he was not happy with the functioning of the Maoist party.

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