New Delhi -- In a major breakthrough, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Thursday arrested Acharya Tatbhananda Avadhoot, described as the "main conspirator" in the 1995 Purulia arms drop case.
Avadhoot alias Lal Chand Parihar, a senior member of the Prout Universal, a wing of the Anand Marg cult of West Bengal, was arrested in the national capital by CBI sleuths.
Avadhoot had fled India after a huge cache of AK-47 assault rifles and ammunition was air-dropped near the cult's headquarters at Anandnagar on the intervening night of December 17-18, 1995, a CBI statement said.
The CBI claimed the cult had hatched a plan to overthrow the Left party government in West Bengal in an armed revolution.
"Avadhoot in one his reports had mentioned about a struggle involving human loss, suffering, turmoil and a war against the immoral forces (communists)," it said.
The investigating agency had charged 14 people, including seven foreigners, in connection with the case Sept 28, 1999.
Avadhoot, who had taken refuge in an Anand Marg establishment in Denmark for several years before returning to India, will be taken to Kolkata Friday. "Avadhoot will be produced before a competent court there," the statement said.
The CBI had also identified the location of another accused, Kim P. Davy alias Acharya Nirvananda Avdhoot, whose extradition has been sought and is under the consideration of authorities in Denmark.
The CBI had announced a reward of Rs.100,000 for Davy. It is still on the hunt for five others - Acharya Suranjananda Avadhoot alias Randy, Acharya Saiteswarananda, Acharya Jagadiswarananda Avadhoot, B. Rameshan and Daya M. Anand alias Deepak, all members of the cult.
All the accused carry a reward of Rs.100,000 each.
British national Peter Bleach and five Russians - Alexander Klichin, Igor Timmerman, Igor Moskvitin, E. Antimenko and Oleg Gaidach - who were sentenced to life in prison by a Calcutta court in connection with the arms drop have been released.
They were set free after receiving presidential pardons, Bleach in February this year and the Russians in July 2002.