"An investigation has begun into the encounter between security personnel and ultras under Bande police station limits took place yesterday," Additional Director General of Police (anti-Naxal operations) R K Vij said on Tuesday.

"It is matter of probe that what kind of information was received by the police, because the martyred policemen had inputs in connection with the yesterday's operation. We are probing it," he said.

Bande police station SHO Avinash Sharma and assistant constable Sonu Ram Gawde were killed in the Naxal attack in forests between Hawalbaras and Panawar villages last evening. Besides, six security personnel, including a BSF's assistant commandant, and two villagers were injured in the ambush.

"Sharma was a brave officer and involved in several encounters with Maoists in the past. The state government had decided to award him an out-of-turn promotion. He was to be promoted soon," the ADG said.

As per a senior police officer, as many as 10 security personnel, including six belonging to district police and four to BSF, on five motorcycles were mobilised for patrolling towards Hawalbaras village, around 250 km away from Raipur.

When the patrolling squad crossed Hawalbaras, they found some local youths playing a cricket match on the left side of the road at the village outskirts. Suddenly, firing started from the dense forests on the right side, the official said on condition of anonymity.

Most of the policemen were injured in the first round of firing. But, when security personnel launched retaliatory attack, the ultras fled to the core forests, he said.

The preliminary investigation revealed that the SHO had a tip-off that some Naxals were willing to surrender in the region, but on the contrary when the police party reached there, the ultras attacked them.

The authenticity of the information and suspected "fake informant" is being checked, he said.

The attack was probably executed by a small group of rebels led by Ramko, a Naxal leader from Maharashtra's Gadchiroli region, he said.

The blood stains found at the spot indicate that some cadres were also gunned down in the face-off and Naxals managed to take away their bodies from the spot, he said.

An interrogation of villagers in nearby areas is being conducted. However, everything would be clearly established once the investigation gets over, he added.

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