Five Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) leaders including a member of the guerrilla outfit's state committee were arrested from West Bengal's South 24 Parganas district Tuesday, police said.
Acting on a tip-off, sleuths of the state police's Criminal Investigation Department (CID) made the arrests from the Bishnupur area, Additional Director General of police (CID) Raj Kanojia told IANS.
'The prize catch is Madhusudan Mandal alias Narayan, who is the secretary of the Nandigram zonal committee of the Maoists. Recently, he was inducted into the state committee,' Kanojia said.
The police had been hunting for Madhusudan for the last 10 months.
Another member of the Nandigram zonal committee in East Midnapore district Siddhartha Mandal was also arrested along with Madhusudan.
The three others - Rajesh Mandal, Sanjay Mandal and Sachin Pramanick - are members of the party which is engaged in a guerrilla warfare across several states in the country to seize state power.
The Maoists had played a key but covert role in the 2007-2008 movement against the chemical hub project in Nandigram which forced the state government to scrap the project.
The Leftwing rebels are now mainly active in three three western districts - West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia - in the state.
The arrests of these leaders have closely followed the twin successes of the joint security forces in killing nine Leftwing rebels in two shootouts in West Midnapore district.
Eight rebels, three of them women, were killed June 16 during a shootout at Ranjha forest, about 20 km from the Binpur block headquarters Lalgarh.
A joint forces trooper and a Maoist fighter were killed in another shootout in Ghrita village under Jhargram sub-division Sunday.
Both the incidents were significant in the sense that the rebels rarely let the security forces get hold of the bodies of their comrades. But the bodies of the nine Maoists were recovered by the forces after the two fire-fights.