After 19 days of the murder of BJD MLA Jagabandhu Majhi in Orissa, the CPI (Maoist) claimed on Thursday through a local newspaper that they killed Majhi because he had tarnished the image of the Maoists by collecting money and getting many people killed in their names.
According to a report in the leading Oriya newspaper, The Samaja, the Maoist took its local correspondent to an undisclosed location in the forests of Nabarangpur and claimed that the Mainpuri division of the CPI (Maoist) was responsible for the killing of the wheel chair bound MLA.
"The MLA got 12 people killed this year and put the blame on the Maoists. Besides, he collected lakhs of rupees claiming closeness to us," the newspaper quoted an unnamed Maoist leader as saying.
The leader reportedly added that before killing him they had warned the MLA several times to desist using their names.
Crime branch (CB) sources said they knew from day one that Maoists were behind the killing but did not divulge for the sake of investigation. "The whole area is Naxal affected. From the spot where Majhi was killed, one can walk over to Chhatisgarh," a senior official told HT on the condition of anonymity.
In a first of its kind in Orissa, Majhi (39), MLA from Umerkote assembly seat in Nabarangpur district, and his personal security officer PK Patro, were shot dead on September 24 by three motorcycle borne men when he was at a public function distributing pattas (land ownership papers) to landless tribals at Gona village, more than 500 km southwest of Bhubaneswar.
Immediately after the murder, Orissa chief minister Naveen Patnaik ordered a crime branch (CB) to probe the murder. CB has yet to arrest anyone though it has released sketches of the assailants.
Majhi had won the Umerkote assembly constituency in 2009 on a BJD ticket. Before that, he had unsuccessfully contested as an Independent from the same seat in 2004, during which unidentified assailants shot him in the waist making him wheel chair bound for good.