Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 17:
Justice A S Naidu Commission, which is probing the killing of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and the large scale ethno-communal riot in Kandhamal in 2008, has served notice on Odisha’s top Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda to record his statement before it by September 5.
Speaking to the media, Justice Naidu said; “A notice has been served to Sabyasachi Panda through the Home department of the state government to record his statement before the commission by September 5. He can either record his statement before the commission in person or through his lawyer”.
After Sabyasachi’s statement is recorded, the commission will think on the modalities of his cross examination, Justice Naidu said.
Justice Naidu was appointed as the head of the one-man Kandhamal commission in 2012 after the demise of Justice Sarat Chandra Mohapatra, who was probing the riot since 2008.
The state government had set up the inquiry commission to probe different angles in the killing of Saraswati and the subsequent ethno-communal violence that left 38 people, most of them Christians, dead.
The Crime Branch, which is investigating into Saraswati’s murder, has applied before the SDJM court Baliguda to take the Maoist leader on remand for his alleged involvement in Saraswati’s murder and is waiting for the court’s order in the matter, said Yogesh Bahadur Khurania, IG, Crime Branch.
Kandhamal SP Kanwar Vishal Singh on August 12 had expressed his department’s inability to provide the required security cover at the court premises before August 15.
On August 11, the SDJM Court, Baliguda had directed the Kandhamal SP to produce Sabyasachi before it on August 13.
There are more than 21 cases pending against the Maoist leader in different police stations in Kandhamal district alone.
There were allegations that Sabyasachi masterminded the attack on the premises of Sanskrit Kanyashram at Jalespata in which Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, Kishore Baba, Mata Bhaktimayee, Amrutanandji and Puranjan Gantayat were gunned down.
A case was registered vide no. 37/08 at the Tumudibandh police station in this connection based on a complaint by Brahmachari Madhab Chaitanya. Brahmachari had named Sabyasachi Panda’s in his FIR.
Sabyasachi , who is presently lodged in a solitary special cell at the Brahmapur circle jail and is under strict vigil, begins his day with yoga followed by reading daily newspapers and at times watching television, reliable sources said.
Also the Maoist leader keeps himself busy writing, the sources added. Sabyasachi takes the same jail food taken by other inmates of the prison.
The top Maoist, who was arrested by the Brahmapur police from a rented house in Brahmapur on July 17, has been charged with the murders of 25 security personnel and 34 civilians, the DGP Sanjeev Marik had revealed after Panda’s arrest..