The CPI (Maoist) has lost its second military commander to Covid-19 in a span of 30 days. After the head of their Telangana unit Haribhushan and his wife succumbed to Covid last month, Vinod, their divisional commander head has also reportedly died because of Covid-related complications.
Telangana and Chhatisgarh police officials claimed that Vinod died on Monday because of medical issues. “Vinod, south regional committee member and DVCM, and a Rs 10 lakh rewardee, has died yesterday due to serious medical disease/ severe corona infection," Dantewada SP Abhishek Pallav confirmed to News18.
Vinod, 60, was allegedly the mastermind of the Darbha Ghati massacre of 2013 which saw the entire Congress leadership of Chattisgarh including leaders like Mahendra Karma getting killed in a Maoist ambush. Vinod was also the alleged mastermind of the murder of BJP MLA Bheema Mandavi.
Vinod, as per police officials, was part of the Maoist group that ambushed MLA Mandavi’s convoy near Kuakonda in Chhattisgarh’s south Bastar district of Dantewada in 2018, just ahead of elections. Mandavi, three security personnel, and the driver were killed when their vehicle passed over an IED allegedly planted by Vinod and his aides.
Chhatisgarh police had announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh for information about Vinod while the National Investigation Agency had announced a reward of Rs 5 lakh. Vinod had more than 40 crimes registered against him in the Dantewada district alone.
Vinod Helma, originally from Sukma in Bastar, had been living in Telangana.
CPI (Maoist) spokesperson confirmed Vinod’s death was due to covid. He also informed the media that the party’s Indravati area committee member Siddaboina Sarakka alias Bharatakka also succumbed to the virus.
Bastar has seen rising Covid-19 numbers in the Maoist ranks and civilians in the last three weeks. IG Bastar Sundar Raj has issued appeals to Maoist leaders to surrender and allow their cadre to avail covid treatment.