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At the height of the Lok Sabha elections, the Maharashtra Police have apprehended a dreaded Maoist, who carried a bounty of Rs 1.5 lakh on his head, officials said on Monday. The rebel is identified as Dilip Motiram Pendam, 34, who was caught in the Bhamragad region after he was found moving around suspiciously near the villages and the forests there.

Among other crimes, Pendam is accused of planting a deadly claymore mine and 2 pressure cooker bombs in the Nelgunda-Gongwada and Laheri in March 2023, intending to kill security forces personnel and loot their arms and ammunition.

He is also accused of helping other hardcore Maoist groups in the region, organising logistics and ration supplies, and distributing publicity banners and literature among the people.

The Gadchiroli police said that since January 2022, 78 Maoists, including several women, have been arrested and appealed to other rebels to give up arms and join the national and social mainstream.