Bhubaneswar, Nov 17 (Odisha.in) After gunning down five of his alleged aides in Odisha’s Gajapati district, security forces and police on Friday stepped up operation to nab the state’s most wanted Maoist Sabyasachi Panda on intelligence inputs that his strength has weakened.
A massive operation is underway in the southern districts of Ganjam,Gajapati, Kandhamal, and Rayagada where Panda suspected to have been hiding in the forests.
Police have also circulated leaflets announcing reward for information leading to arrest of Panda and six of his aides. We have announced that the identities of the informants would be kept secret, senior police officer engaged in the operation told Odisha.in.
46 years old Panda carries a reward of about Rs.20 lakh on his arrest and is wanted in several criminal cases including murders, kidnapping, extortion attack on police, and bombing, he pointed out.
Panda a former secretary of the state organizing committee of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist was accused of being the mastermind of the Italian abduction crisis in the state in March thisyear that was resolved after month-long negotiations.
His group is also accused of killing Viswa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxamananda Saraswati and four of his aids which had sparked communal violence in Kandhamal district in 2008 in which 38 people
Panda formed Odisha Maobadi Party (OMP) after CPI-Maoist expelled him few months ago on the charge of anti party activities.
State director general of police Prakash Mishra said Panda’s strength has been reduced after five of his cadres were killed in a gunfight with security forces in a forest under Mohana police station area in
Gajapati district on Wednesday.
Police believe Panda who was allegedly leading the group managed to escape with his other supporters.
Meanwhile Mili Panda, the wife of the rebel leader said police have targeted her husband at a time when Panda had shunned violence and some social activists were holding talks to bring him back to the
“It is the double standard of the police and state authorities” he told reporters. The lady also said the five persons killed in recent police encounter were innocent villagers belonged to the district of
Even one of them was a leader of the ruling Biju Janata Dal, she pointed out. Police however have yet to reveal the identities of those killed.