Rakhi Chakrabarty,TNN | Jun 19, 2014, 06.27 AM IST

NEW DELHI: Maoist polit bureau leader and founding member of the outlawed CPI-Maoist, Sushil Roy, died at AIIMS in Delhi on Wednesday after prolonged illness. He was 80. Roy, has been an underground leader since 1967 after the Naxalbari movement was launched. Honouring his last wish, his body was donated to the AIIMS for medical research.

Roy, who had declared the formation of the CPI-Maoist following the merger of MCC and PW on September 21, 2004. Earlier, in 1963 he had joined the undivided CPI.

Lying in the emergency ward of the AIIMS hospital, Roy gave his last interview to TOI in September 2012. He had then appealed to the Maoist leadership to lay down arms, opt for partial ceasefire in West Bengal and Jharkhand and talk to the government. In Chhattisgarh and Bihar though the banned party should continue its fight against the Indian state to keep up the morale of the cadres, he had said.

However, a section of Maoist leaders and sympathizers, including Prashant Rahi and DU Prof G N Saibaba, denied Roy said anything about ceasefire. Though neither were present during Roy’s interview with TOI, they took great pains trying to label Roy’s statements “concocted”.

Speaking exclusively to TOI, Roy had said, “A large number of our comrades were killed or arrested in Bengal and Jharkhand. The party is in a bad shape. Many opportunists split from the party and formed outfits, especially, in Jharkhand. The ceasefire would benefit the party and help in release of cadres from jail.”

After Roy’s release from AIIMS in 2012, sources said his interactions had been restricted by the party on the plea of his illness.

In November 2012, Roy was granted bail by Jharkhand high court. He was arrested in 2005 and faced trial in several cases of violence, arson and murder in Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha. The state did not oppose his bail plea on humanitarian grounds.

Roy had told TOI that he had discussed ceasefire with Narayan Sanyal, senior Maoist politburo member then lodged in Hazaribagh jail. “About two-and-a-half months ago, we wrote to the party from jail proposing ceasefire. I don’t know if the letter reached them,” Roy had said in the TOI interview.