'Naxals' kill Lloyd Steel VP and two others in Gadchiroli mining row

FP

The iron ore mining controversy in Gadchiroli has taken a bloody turn with alleged Naxals killing a vice-president of Lloyd Steel and two others near Surjagarh village in Etapalli tahsil.

Jaspal Singh Dhillon, vice-president (mines), Lloyd Steel, Mallikarjun Reddy, proprietor of Hemlata Minerals which mines iron ore for Lloyd, and Raju Sadmake, the police warden of Surjagarh, had reportedly gone into the forest near the village around 5 pm Wednesday.

"Reports suggest they had parked their vehicle near Surjagarh and had proceeded inside the forest on a bike asking the driver to come to Manger village two hours later. When the driver reached there, he found their bodies," Gadchiroli collector Abhishek Krishna told The Indian Express.

All three were shot dead by alleged Naxals. No note was left at the spot but police suspect Aitu, a fiery Naxal leader in the area who has been the mastermind of ambushes and attacks. Although there is no official word on the motive, the three men were reportedly pushing for augmenting mining operations in the area.

"They hadn't informed us before going there. We have fetched the bodies from the spot and have launched an operation in the area," DIG of Police (Gadchiroli range) Ravindra Kadam said.

Dhillon (60) and Reddy (45) are veterans of working in Naxal areas. Dhillon had retired from Ballarpur Paper Mill that extracts bamboo from Naxal-affected interiors. "Earlier too he was beaten up mercilessly by Naxals. Due to his special experience of working in Naxal areas, Lloyd Steel had taken him on board," one police officer said.

Reddy's firm also has long experience of working in Naxal areas.

Sadmake (65), it is learnt, had been instrumental in getting village youth to work for the company that had just started low-key mining in the area five years after getting the lease. "Some in the village were opposed to the project. Also, during operations in the area, the police would visit his house as he was a police warden. So he may be a suspect in the eyes of the Naxals," one sources said.

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