A local BJP leader and another person were arrested in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh on the charges of being Maoist supporters, police said on Sunday.
The accused, identified as Jagat Pujari and Ramesh Usendi (32), were arrested on Saturday after they procured a tractor to allegedly deliver it to a hardcore Naxal, Dantewada Superintendent of Police Abhishek Pallava told PTI.
Pujari, a native of Barsoor village, is the vice president of BJPs Dantewada district unit, he said.
After receiving inputs that senior cadres from Abhujmaad area had handed over money to Ajay Alami, militia commander-in-chief, active in Indravati area committee of Maoists, for procuring some things, police swung into action, he said.
Based on the mobile phone intercepts, police kept an eye on some suspects, including Pujari, in the area, he said.
"On Saturday afternoon, police intercepted a newly-purchased tractor-trolley on Barsoor-Chitrakot route and rounded up Usendi, a native of Orchha area in neighbouring Narayanpur district, when he was allegedly going to deliver the vehicle to Naxals," he said.
During the interrogation, Usendi revealed that Maoist leader Alami had given him Rs 4 lakh to procure a tractor and told that Pujari will help him in the entire process, he said.
Later, Pujari was nabbed from Barsoor. He confessed to his involvement in supplying various materials to the senior Maoist cadres in the region in the past, he said.
Apart from the tractor-trolley, some other agriculture equipment meant for Naxals were also recovered from the possession of the two accused, he said.
"Mobile phone intercepts of Pujari also suggest that he had been in contact with Maoists since the last several months," the SP said.
They were booked under provisions of the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, 2005, Pallava said, adding that further investigation into the matter is underway.
The SP said that Maoists have been facing a crisis of ration and other essentials since the coronavirus-induced lockdown was imposed in March this year, which hit their supply chain.
They might have decided to cultivate paddy in interior forests and therefore, had planned to procure tractor and other farm implements, he added.
Meanwhile, BJP's district president Chaitram Attami said that party's senior state leaders have been informed about the development and they will decide on the action to be taken against Pujari at the party level.
Pujari had been appointed as the district vice-president around five years ago. However, as no fresh appointment to the post was made after completion of his tenure, he was still holding the position, he said.