Ajawan of the CoBRA battalion on Friday suffered serious injuries in an IED blast, suspected to have been triggered by Maoists, in a forest in Jharkhand’s West Singhbhum district, a senior police officer said.

The injured jawan was immediately airlifted to a hospital in Ranchi, he said. Acting on inputs of Maoist movement, security personnel, including jawans of the CoBRa battalion and the Jharkhand Jaguar, along with policemen, were carrying out a combing operation in Tumbahaka forest, when the explosive went off, injuring one of them, Superintendent of Police Ashutosh Shekhar said.

It was the third such IED explosion in the forest in the past 15 days.

According to the SP, the police had information about the presence of top Maoist leaders, including Misir Besra alias Sagar da, Patiram Manjhi alias Ramesh Da alias Anal da and Asim Mandal alias Manoj da alias Akash da, in the area, and had accordingly launched an operation to apprehend them.

The operation was also aimed at inculcating confidence among villagers, ahead of 24-hour Jharkhand bandh called by Maoists on January 22, in protest against the recent arrest of Krishna Hansda, a Jharkhand regional committee member of the banned CPI(Maoist), from Giridih district, he added.