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Sambuddha Gupta | CUTTACK | May 11, 2011
Seven Maoists were involved in the killing of Hindu seer Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati that triggered widespread ethno-communal riots in Orissa’s Kandhamal district in 2008, police said on Monday. The crime branch of Orissa police filed in its second chargesheet in the sensational August 23, 2008, murder case of Swamiji in his Jalespeta Ashram, stating it had got prima facie evidence against Maoists Sabyasachi Panda, Udaya @ Pulari Rama Rao, Jadu @ Somanath Dandasena, Azad @ Duna Keshava Rao, Dasru @ Dasanna, Lalu and Lakhmu @ Madan.
Even as a petition pending disposal in Odisha High Court questioning why the State Crime Branch is not investigating the role of a local church in the murder of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati in Kandhamal, the Monday’s filing of a second chargesheet in the case indicates that the investigating police are trying to paint the Maoists as the only villain in the murder of the Hindu seer.
The crime branch on Monday filed a second chargesheet in the case naming at least seven more persons connected with Maoist actions involved in the killing of Saraswati.
The preliminary charge sheet filed earlier in 2009 had also named seven persons. Incidentally, all the 14 who are now believed to be behind this heinous murder are Maoist cadres, including top Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda.
A CB officer here said that they are now focusing to bring all those persons who were behind this crime. “We have not concentrated yet to ascertain the motive behind the killing”, the officer said adding that the outlawed Maoist organization had immediately owned responsibilities of the killing of the seer for he (the seer) was spreading hatred among people in the name of religion.
While all the seven named in the first charge sheet have already been arrested, the police officer informed that two among those seven named in the second charge sheet are also now behind the bars under the charges of murder, trespass to commit offence, theft and criminal conspiracy.
They are also facing charges. Sources also indicated that trial in the case has already begun in a fast track court of Phulbani, while the prosecution has kept its option open to file further charge sheets in the case as investigation is still continuing.
However, challenging the ongoing trial and questioning the sincerity of the crime branch police, a petition seeking impartial enquiry by an independent agency into the sensational murder case is still pending disposal in Odisha High Court.
Appearing in the case, a senior lawyer of Supreme Court M N Krishnamani had argued that there are a lot of discrepancies in the crime branch enquiry. He also brought to the notice of the HC that the crime branch police have not brought the reported resolution passed by a local Church into the purview of investigation. Members of Beticola Parish Church Council of Baliguda had reportedly passed a resolution prior to the incident that Swamiji would be killed, the petition alleged.
Earlier the Orissa High Court directed the Criminal Investigation Department of the state police to submit a status report on the progress of its probe into the murder of VHP leader Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his disciples.
The killing of Laxmanananda (82) and his disciples on August 23, 2008 by Maoists in a tribal residential school in Jalespeta area of Kandhamal had triggered communal riots in the district.
Though the CID sleuths took up the case a few days after the killing and submitted a preliminary chargesheet on January 30, 2009 against seven tribal Christians, they could not investigate the conspiracy angle in the preliminary chargesheet.
But now the Christian-Maoist nexus are very clear in the case of Swami Laxmanananda Murder as the Swami successfully challenged the subversive and conversion works of the Maoists and Evangelical groups so active in anti national networking in Odisha , Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and some other tribal Hindu prone areas in India.