Gadchiroli: The security agencies on Friday, in a major breakthrough, identified the mastermind of Gadchiroli Naxal attack as Bhaskar, the chief commander of the North Gadchiroli unit of CPI (Maoist).

According to a Zee News report, Bhasker has been active since 15 years and carries a cash reward of Rs 16 lakh on his head. He had reportedly asked Nagsu aka Mansu aka Girdhar, a member of the unit, to plant the improvised explosive device (IED).

The attack, carried out on the Kurkheda-Korchi road near Jambhurkheda village panchayat in north Gadchiroli, killed 15 Quick Response Team (QRT) commandoes and the driver of the vehicle in which they were travelling.

The deceased police personnel have been identified as – police constables (PC) Dayanand Sahare, Aagraman Rahate, Sarjerao Khade, Kishor Bobate, Santosh Chavan, Raju Gaikwad, Laxman Kodap, Sahudas Madavi, Nitin Ghormare, Puranshaha Duga, Pramod Bhoyar, Touffik Shekh, Amrut Bhadade, Yogesh Halami and Bhupesh Valote. The driver was identified as Someshwar Singhnath Kurkheda.

In the wake of Wednesday’s Naxal attack in Gadchiroli of Maharashtra, several areas in Uttar Pradesh including Chandauli, Mirzapur and Sonbhadra were put on alert.

Meanwhile, soon after the attack, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Chief Sharad Pawar took to Twitter and demanded Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s resignation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi strongly condemned the dastardly attack and said, “Strongly condemn despicable attack on our security personnel in Gadchiroli, Maharashtra. Salute all brave personnel. Their sacrifices will never be forgotten. My thoughts and solidarity are with bereaved families. Perpetrators of such violence will not be spared.”

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis also condemned the attack and expressed grief.