According to police, a powerful improvised explosive device (IED) blast triggered by Naxals Wednesday afternoon at 12:30 p.m.
The attack on the security vehicles came hours after the suspected Maoists torched at least 36 road construction vehicles and two site offices of a road building contractor in Gadchiroli's Dadarpur village. "I am in touch with the DGP and the Gadchiroli SP", he said in a statement.
The explosion, condemned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi amid ongoing general elections, took place at about 11.30 pm on Maharashtra Day, nearly 10 hours after Maoists allegedly torched three dozen vehicles engaged in road widening and construction work in Gadchiroli's Kurkheda area. Jaiswal said police personnel are at the spot of the attack and more information will be available later in the evening.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the attack on Twitter and said the perpetrators will not be spared.
The incident comes at a time when Maoists are observing a week-long protest to mark the first anniversary of 40 of their comrades who were killed by the security forces previous year in two separate encounters.
Devendra Fadnavis regarding the tragic incident in Gadchiroli while expressing his grief at the loss of "brave" Police personnel. "Their sacrifices will never be forgotten", he tweeted.
Rao is also suspected to be behind nearly all the major Maoist attacks that have taken place in Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Odisha. "Strongly condemn the despicable attack on our security personnel in Gadchiroli, Maharashtra. My thoughts & solidarity are with the bereaved families", he wrote.
"We are extremely proud of the valour of our police personnel", he said. We are in this together, we will fight this together. "Loss of life of these courageous soldiers is an irreparable loss. Their sacrifice would not go in vain".
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also paid homage to those killed the attack.
Over 390 jawans have been killed in Naxal attacks in the past five years that expose hollow claims of securing India by the Modi government, he said.