Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Oct 30:
Justice A S Naidu Commission, probing the murder of VHP leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and the ensuing communal riots in Khandhmal in 2008, ended its hearing here today.
In a hearing that went on for eight years, the commission heard 325 witnesses and a total of 825 affidavits have been filed.
Secretaries of Home, Revenue, Law and SC/ST Development departments who were asked to depose before the commission have not deposed before the commission yet, according to reports.
Defence counsel Suresh Pujari had earlier asked for the appearance of Maoist leaders Sabyasachi Panda and Azad before the Commission.
The Commission is expected to submit the inquiry report to the state government by December this year.
The state government had set up the inquiry commission to probe different angles in the killing of Saraswati and the subsequent ethno-communal violence that left at least 38 people dead.
There were allegations that Sabyasachi Panda masterminded the attack on the premises of Sanskrit Kanyashram at the Jalaspeta ashram in which Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, Kishore Baba, Mata Bhaktimayee, Amrutanandji and Puranjan Gantayat were gunned down.
Last year, Panda was arrested by the police from a rented house in Brahmapur and has been charged with the murder of 25 security personnel and 34 civilians, including Laxmananand Saraswati.
After the death of Justice Sarat Chandra Mohapatra in 2012, who was heading a one man panel probing the sensitive issue since 2008, Justice A S Naidu had been appointed as the head of the Kandhamal commission in 2012.