The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) killed the elusive Maoist leader, Koteshwar Rao (alias Kishenji), in an encounter in the West Midnapore district of West Bengal Thursday evening.

The CRPF claimed that the 207 Cobra battalion killed Kishenji after a 30-minute gun battle.

"Acting on specific tip-off that few top Maoist leaders, including Kishenji, are hiding inside the dense forest of Burishol, the joint force is raiding the forest since Wednesday. Within 30 minutes after we initiated a gun battle on Thursday jawans noticed a body that resembles Kishenji," P.K. Tripathi, Superintendent of Police, was quoted as saying by a TV channel.

Kishenji, 52, was in charge of the eastern regional bureau for the Maoists and was rumored to have suffered injuries in an encounter with security forces last year.