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Police exchanged fire with Naxalites in eastern Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district on Wednesday morning and subsequently recovered a cache of explosives, a senior official said.

Intelligence was received on Tuesday afternoon that some armed cadres of Aheri ‘LOS’ (Local Operation Squad) of Naxalites had entered the district in a bid to extort money from local tendu leaf contractors, said district Superintendent of Police Neelotpal.

A team of C-60, the special anti-Naxalite unit of Gadchiroli police, led by additional SP M Ramesh immediately set off for the area on the banks of the Indravati river on Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh border, he said.

Naxalites opened fire on the police team near Gyarewada village on Wednesday morning, leading to retaliatory firing, the SP said.

The Naxalites then fled, taking advantage of the dense forest, Mr Neelotpal said.

A search in the area led to the seizure of a large amount of explosives, wires, batteries, Naxalite literature and few `pitthus’ or kit bags carried by the Naxalites, he said.

A combing operation was underway in the area, the official added.