Gadchiroli: A senior Maoist was arrested by the Gadchiroli police today, Superintendent of Police Sandip Patil said during a press conference here today.

The arrested Maoist cadre, identified as Raju alias Jethuram Dhurwa (41) who is a resident of Khedgaon village in Rajnandgaon district of Chhattisgarh, is allegedly a member of the Manpur Division and Commander of Aundhi Local Operation Squad.

The Gadchiroli police succeeded in arresting such a senior Maoist cadre for the first time after 2007, the SP said, adding, Maoists have suffered a major setback with the arrest.

Earlier, a deputy commander of this Maoist squad was killed in an encounter at Gahangatta after which this squad had almost ceased to exist, he said.

Allegedly, Raju was actively involved in several serious offences in Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra.

Before joining the Maoist movement, he worked as militia member in his native place. He used to allegedly transport explosives and other material sent by Maoist Gudsa Usendi and Manpur Division Special Zonal Committee to various Maoist squads.

Raju joined the Pallemadi Maoist squad in 2007 and was transferred to Mohalla Local Operation Squad in 2008, where he continued till 2012.

In 2012, he was transferred to the Pallemadi Maoist squad and worked as in-charge of the Aundhi squad, the police official said.

Allegedly, Raju was involved in several crimes including vehicle burning at Pallemadi mines in 2006, looting gelatin sticks in Mahamaya, the Sorpar murder in 2007, Sambalpur encounter, Padi murder in 2009, Kandali murder in 2011, Bukmarka hill and Mungner encounters in 2012, Lekepar ambush in 2012, as well as Mudeli and Mardgutta encounters in 2014, the police official said.