Top Maoist leader Milind Teltumbde, also an accused in the Bhima Koregaon violence case, was among the 26 Maoists gunned down in a massive encounter on Saturday in Maharashtra's Gadchiroli.
Sixteen teams of the anti-Maoist C-60 commandoes - with over 500 personnel - carried out the huge security operation that started at 6 am on Saturday and went on till 4 pm. Four security personnel were injured in the operation.
This was one of the biggest encounters in the recent years in the forests of Gadchiroli.
Teltumbde, who had a bounty of Rs 50 lakh on his head, was a member of the Maoists' central committee and he was believed to have been active in four states - Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Telangana. His bodyguards - a man and a woman - are also believed to have been shot dead, news agency PTI reported.
His involvement was also suspected in the 2019 Kurkheda attack in which several police personnel were killed.
Saturday's gun battle took place at Korchi in Mardintola forest area of Gadchiroli, about 900 km from Mumbai.
Twenty-nine weapons - including Under Barrel Grenade Launchers or UBGLs and AK-47s - were recovered from the encounter site.
Several other Maoists who carried rewards on their heads were gunned down.
Korchi Dalam, and Sannu alias Kovachi, commander of the Kasansur Dalam, were carrying rewards of Rs 8 lakh each on them, PTI reported. Bhagat Singh alias Pradip alias Tilak Jade, the bodyguard of Teltumbde, was carrying a reward of Rs 6 lakh, while Prakash alias Sadhu Boga, Lacchu, the bodyguard of Maoist leader Prabhakar, Navluram alias Dilip Tulavi, Bandu alias Dalsu Gota, Kosa alias Musakhi and Pramod alias Dalpath Kachlami carried Rs 4 lakh cash rewards.
In 2018, 40 Maoists were gunned down in a similar operation.