Visakhapatnam: The obsession of selfies among people cutting across age, class and caste is not new. The pace with which it has caught up, however, has had its own ramifications – even in death.

What is new though is that the selfie bug appears to have bitten Naxal forces as well, or so this particular story indicates.

For quite some time now, police in Andhra Pradesh were struggling to catch hold of Chalapathi, a top Maoist leader and East Division secretary, as they never knew what he looked like. However, a seemingly honest fixation of the Naxal leader and his wife have given the police a much-needed breakthrough.

As per reports, a laptop seized by the police from slain Maoist leader Azad has provided police with crucial information, especially on the appearance of Chalapathi and his wife Aruna, deputy commander of the Koraput-Srikakulam Division Committee. The key here was the selfie captured by the couple that was recovered from the laptop.

Armed with their pictures, the police is now making all-out efforts to nab the two Naxal leaders and have made a poster of the selfie and splattered it all across the agencies.

Chalapathi has a bounty of Rs 20 lakh on his head while his wife Aruna has Rs 5 lakh. Chalapathi is the top Maoist leader of Vizag and East Godavari area.

On May 4. Azad, the brother of Aruna was shot dead with two others in an encounter with Greyhounds personnel at Marripakulu in Koyyuru mandal of Vizag district.

Apart from the laptop, cops also recovered a weapons and kit bags from the encounter site.

According to police sources, “An examination of the laptop revealed that it belonged to Azad and contained among other things the photo of Chalapathi and Aruna. It is clear it was taken on a smartphone, most likely by Azad. He appears to be in his fifties and she in her forties.”

Until now, the police only had a blurred photograph to search him and had no clue how he looked 20 years or so down the line.

According to the police sources, the Maoist cenrtal committee gave their leader strict instruction to not to have any photographic evidence as it could land in trouble.

“In this age of smartphones, WhatsApp and high-speed internet connectivity, carrying a photo of a top leader in a laptop is a big slip on the part of the Naxals,” sources further added.