Bhubaneswar: In a significant development in cameraman Manas Swain murder case, Bhadrak police today seized prime accused Sarmistha Rout’s car which was used for disposing the body.
The four-wheeler was found parked at the garage of Sky Tower apartment under Airfield police limits here. Cops have recovered some documents from the car after breaking its rear window glass.
“Manas was kidnapped in Sarmistha’s car. After his murder, the body was taken to Nayagarh in the vehicle and disposed. As many as five persons– Sarmistha, Jhuna Bhoi, Vivek Nayak, Ranjan Nayak and Bhagyadhar Nayak– were present in the car when the body was being taken for disposal,” said Budhiram Mohanty, Sub-Inspector, Matto police outpost.
A sensational twist came to the case when police on March 21 arrested former Information & Public Relation (I&PR) Director (Technical) Niranjan Sethi over his alleged involvement in the abduction and killing. He was an Odisha Information Service (OIS) officer and retired in February.
A security guard of the apartment today said that Sethi used to visit Sarmistha’s house in the apartment, frequently. Sarmistha had introduced Niranjan as chairman of her organization. She had instructed not to enter Sethi’s name in the visitors’ register, the security guard added.
In another development in the case, the Odisha DGP today ordered for a Crime Branch probe into the incident. Earlier, the Bhadrak police was carrying out the investigation.
The decision was taken in view of the the gravity of the case and involvement of multiple districts, said Odisha Police.
DGP, Odisha has ordered for taking up of investigation of Chandbali PS Case No. 63 dated 14.02.2022 of Bhadrak District by CID-Crime Branch in view of its gravity and involvement of multiple districts.
— Odisha Police (@odisha_police) March 23, 2022
Police have so far arrested six persons– Niranjan Sethi, his associate Ranjan Nayak, Bhagyadhar Nayak, Vivek Nayak, Krushna Chandra Nayak and Sarmistha’s brother Parameswar Rout– in this case.
Efforts were on by police to trace and apprehend Sarmistha and her associate Jhuna Bhoi.
Also read– Manas Swain Murder: Sarmistha’s Pic With Cops Raises Question; Call Details Reveal New Facts.
As per police, Manas had possessed a memory card containing videos and photos which could have landed Sarmistha in trouble, for which she was trying to get the memory card. Sarmistha had hired Bhagyadhar Nayak, Vivek Nayak and Krushna Chandra Nayak for this purpose.
Manas Swain, a resident of Godipokhari village in Ranpur area of Nayagarh district, was working as a cameraman for a Bhubaneswar-based web portal ‘Sampoorna’ run by Sarmistha Rout.
Manas was allegedly kidnapped when he was returning from Chandbali area in Bhadrak district on February 7. He had gone there to shoot a wedding function.
His family members had lodged a missing complaint with the Chandbali police on February 14.
During probe, police found the involvement of Bhagyadhar Nayak, Vivek Nayak and Krushna Chandra Nayak in abducting Manas and arrested the trio on March 12.
The abductors allegedly took Swain to ‘Dayal Ashram’ old age home at Sundarpada in Bhubaneswar. It was being run by Sarmistha.
Manas was assaulted and murdered at the old age home on the night of February 7 while the body was buried in Nayagarh district. Police had exhumed Swain’s body near Badhipatna hills in Rajsunakhala area of the district on March 12.
The content of the photos and videos were yet to be ascertained.
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