"It was not unethical on the part of the police," Home Secretary Ardhendu Sen said in reply to a question if it was justified for the Crime Investigation Departement to arrest Mahato disguised as scribes.
Sen suggested that as a measure of caution journalists contacting Maoists should do so over phone for some days. "The situation will normalise after a few days," he said.
"The police have confirmed information that Mahato, who is chief of the People's Committee against Police Atrocities, has direct links with Maoists," he said.
Mahato was arrested on September 26 for sedition and under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act at Birkar village near Lalgarh.
Sen said there were specific cases against Mahato, who has been leading an agitation against alleged police excesses in Lalgarh of West Midnapore district since last November.
Asked why he was not arrested when he visited Kolkata at least twice a few months ago, Sen said, "The situation did not warrant his arrest then, it has changed now."
The manner of his arrest led to sharp protest from journalist bodies, some political parties and a section of intelligentsia.