A local court in Odisha on Saturday granted the state police a 10-day physical remand of top Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda, a day after he was arrested from a crowded area in southern Odisha city of Berhampur.
The police had asked for a 14-days remand to interrogate Panda.
Berhampur sub-divisional magistrate PK Behera allowed the prayer of Panda’s lawyer to conduct the rebel leader’s interrogation in the presence of his family members, friends or lawyer. The court also ordered that Panda’s family members could meet him as per jail manual.
“The court has set five preconditions for Panda’s remand saying he will be lodged in a secured cell, be medically examined, given food and medicines and will not be subjected to physical and mental torture,” Panda’s lawyer Dipak Patnaik said.
Police nabbed Panda (48), wanted in more than 60 criminal cases, from a house in Berhampur in Ganjam district, about 180 km south of Bhubaneswar. Police said he was involved in several sensational cases including loot of police armoury in Nagarh in 2007, killing of Hindu leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati in Kandhamal in 2008 and abduction of two Italian tourists in 2012.
The state government had announced a reward of Rs.5 lakh over his head.
Panda, son of a three-time MLA of Communist Party of India (Marxist), was an over ground communist activist since 1985, but went underground in 2000 to join radical People’s War Group. In 2004, he joined Communist Party of India (Maoist) when it was formed following the merger of PWG and Maoist Communist Centre (MCC).
He headed the party’s state unit and was the topmost Maoist leader till 2012, but his downfall started after he fell out with CPI (Maoist) leadership and floated his own outfit Odisha Maoist Party.