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Friday, May 13, 2022

Who was Milind Teltumbde, Maoist leader killed in Gadchiroli encounter

"Teltumbde was the main financier of the Bhima-Koregaon programme organised in Pune three years ago," said a former senior police officer.

Written by Vivek Deshpande | Nagpur |
Updated: November 15, 2021 1:54:09 am
"Teltumbde was also active in Nashik and other places in western Maharashtra for a few years," said another former official. (File Photo)

MILIND TELTUMBDE, who was among the 26 Maoists killed Saturday in an encounter with security forces in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli, was a union leader in the 1980s who went on to become a key operative of the banned CPI (Maoist) organisation with a reward of Rs 50 lakh for his capture, according to current and retired senior police officers.

In a note on Teltumbde released Sunday, the police said that the 58-year-old was allegedly involved in 42 incidents of encounters, seven cases of murder of civilians, four of murder of policemen, two of arson and one of dacoity.

For many years, police officers said, Teltumbde was the secretary of Maharashtra unit of CPI (Maoist). Over the past few years, he had been a Central Committee Member and in-charge of the outfit’s Maharashtra-Madhya Pradesh-Chhattisgarh (MMC) zone, they said.

One of the officers said he was also a severe diabetic and suffered from knee pain. “While moving around in the hills of Abujhmad (in Chhattisgarh), he had to be taken on a horse as he couldn’t walk on that terrain. He made several attempts to get his knees operated on but couldn’t succeed. This may well have been the reason why he couldn’t manage to escape Saturday’s encounter,” the officer said.

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“He was also active in Nashik and other places in western Maharashtra for a few years,” the officer said.

According to a retired police officer, Teltumbde turned to the Maoist movement in the 1980s after a spat with a manager of Western Coalfields Ltd in Chandrapur, where he was working as a technician after his ITI course. Following the incident, he was accused of attempt to murder.

“As worker, he was active in a union called Akhil Maharashtra Kamgar Union. He steadily rose through the ranks of CPI (Maoist),” the former officer said.

In 2011, Teltumbde’s wife Angela was arrested in Thane on charges linked to alleged Maoist activities. She was later released on bail.

Last year, Teltumbde was named in a supplementary chargesheet filed by the National Investigation Agency in the Elgar Parishad case as an accused along with seven others, including his elder brother and former IIT professor Anand Teltumbde.

Referring to Milind Teltumbde’s alleged role in the Elgar Parishad incident three years ago in Bhima-Koregaon near Pune, another officer described him as the “main financier of the programme”. The officer claimed that “his communications with the organisers under the nickname Deepak are part of police records”.

According to the retired officer, in the 1980s, Milind Teltumbde was part of the then People’s War Group (PWG) led by Kondapalli Sitaramayya. “But due to some serious differences, the entire Maharashtra unit was thrown out of the party by Sitaramayya. Teltumbde and others then formed a separate outfit called Maharashtra PWG but he was later taken back into the fold in 1992,” the former officer said.

The police release on Milind Teltumbde also lists three “important incidents” — all in Gadchiroli. They include a blast “triggered by Naxalites” that killed 15 policemen at Jambhulkheda village May 1, 2019, and an encounter in Koparshi on May 17, 2020, in which two police personnel were killed.

Listing the third incident, the release said: “On 13/11/2021, he has been killed in the encounter (that) took place between police and the Naxalites in the forests of Mardintola…”

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