Monday, September 18, 2006

Cops unravel the rocket mystery

HYDERABAD: Ending weeks of speculation over the identity of Srinivas Reddy and 'Tech'Madhu, on whose names rocket launchers were ordered in Ambattur in Tamil Nadu, the Andhra Pradesh police have confirmed that both were not two different individuals, but aliases of a Maoist technical squad member.

'Tech'Madhu, known by nom de guerre Gautam, Raghu and Srinivas Reddy, is a technical squad member of the CPI (Maoist). Sudha Rani, whose real name is Vasantha, is a deputy commander of the technical committee of the party. Both ordered rocket launchers on pseudonyms from engineering units in Ambattur.

On the information and photographs provided by the Tamil Nadu police, the state intelligence wing unravelled the mystery.

Police sources said 'Tech'Madhu, who is a native of Warangal district and studied polytechnic, has been in the CPI (Maoist) tech committee, which takes care of development and production of arms.

Though rank wise, a technical squad member belongs to a low-level cadre and is at par with district committee member, he has access to Central Military Commission leaders and top brass of the CPI (Maoist), sources said.

Sources claimed that the Maoist leaders issued a statement a year ago stating that party members 'Tech'Madhu and Vijay were arrested in Nellore even though they were not arrested by the police. The statement was issued after the duo failed to meet a 'contact'.

They even said they should be produced before a court, sources said. Meanwhile, the Special Investigation Team (SIT), which has been in Chennai for the last one week, is expected to reach Hyderabad on Monday. The Maoists placed their first bulk order with Ambattur engineering firms, the team claimed.

"Until December, 2005 they were experimenting with rocket launchers by making modifications to their old designs. They prepared the latest model recently and the seized launchers are perhaps the first batch adopting the latest design," a senior police officer told TOI on Sunday. For their field experiments, they must have procured spares like rocket shells and pipes from local engineering firms in the state, the officer said.

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