Top Maoist leader eludes capture

Jhargram: Top Maoist leaders, including Akash, who had offered truce to the West Bengal government recently, today managed to escape during a raid by joint- forces on their hideout at Jhargram in West Midnapore district, police said.

"We had information that Akash and Jayanta were hiding in the jungles of Bankisole and Aulgeria in Salboni police station area, but the Maoists fired on the joint-forces when they tried to enter the forest," a senior police officer said. The security personnel fired back forcing the Maoists to retreat and entered the jungle, but could not find the two leaders, he added.

One Maoist was arrested and firearms, including a rifle, were seized from the spot, he said. Earlier, a landmine was seized from Mohanpur jungle in the district. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday gave a seven- day deadline to the ultras to lay down arms.

The state government is gearing up to launch full-fledged operations against the Maoists and has sought 2,000 additional paramilitary personnel from the Centre.