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7 Maoists charged with killing VHP leader

india Updated: Jan 31, 2009 13:51 IST
Soumyajit Pattnaik
Soumyajit Pattnaik
Hindustan Times
7 Maoists charged with killing VHP leader

Seven Maoists have officially been charged as the “real killers” of VHP leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four others in Orissa’s Kadhamal district on August 23, 2008. The killing triggered the worst-ever anti-Christian riot in the state.

The state crime branch on Friday submitted a charge sheet in the sub-divisional judicial magistrate’s court in the district’s Baliguda town, charging seven persons — all Maoists — for murdering the Swami and the four others.

Crime branch official S.K. Patnaik told HT, “Investigations are still on, and a supplementary charge sheet would also be filed...”.

But Ratnakar Chaini, president of the Swami Laxmanananda Sradhanjali Samiti (commemoration committee) said, “The Crime Branch has acted in haste. They have not done proper investigations. in The government is not serious to uncover the truth.” Simanchal Khatua, spokesperson of the Sradhanjali Samiti, however, told HT, “A meeting of the Samiti has been convened on February 2. We will discuss the charge sheet and other issues.”

On October 6, 2008, the crime branch made the first breakthrough by arresting three persons, who admitted being Maoists.

The arrests were made two days after a senior CPI-Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda owned up Swami’s killing while speaking to a private television channel.