Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar/ Brahmapur, Feb 28:
Where is Sabyasachi Panda, the most wanted Maoist ?
The founder-secretary of Odisha Maobadi Party (OMP ), the new Red outfit, Sabyasachi Panda is supposed to have sustained a bullet injury in his right thigh. That is what DIG (South) Amitabh Thakur claimed in a press meet in Brahmapur on Friday. He also said that his personal laptop placed on his backpack had taken a bullet.
DIG Thakur said Panda had been injured during the encounter in Salimagochha forest near Merikot in Ganjam district on February 15 and this information had come from Nikita, the Maoist leader’s personal body guard during interrogation.
However, the vital question is : where is the ‘injured’ Sabyasachi now ?
The encounter happened two weeks ago and unless he has undergone a surgery, he should be in a very bad shape by now. A man with a bullet in his right thigh would normally not be in a position to move about in a hostile terrain. That should have helped the police locate and nab him. But that has not happened.
Ganjam SP Ashish Singh had, in a press meet on February 17, claimed security personnel had seized a huge cache of arms and other items during their raid on Sabyasachi’s camp two days earlier and that they were in the process of preparing a list of the seized items. But the list was disclosed nearly two weeks later, on Friday, after they had arrested three women Maoists.
It is, therefore, not clear if the arms, ammunition and articles displayed during Friday’s press conference, were seized during the raid on February 15 or later.
Interestingly, Sabyasachi’s elder brother Siddharth Panda has a different view altogether. He says he is ‘convinced’ that his brother had been ‘captured’ and is in police custody now.
“Sabyasachi (Panda) has been arrested and he is in police custody already. The police are perhaps waiting for an opportune moment to break the news of his arrest. ” Siddharth told OST.
Sabyasachi, who parted company with the CPI-Maoist in 2012 following serious differences with the party leadership over both ideological and personal issues, formed a new outfit called Odisha Maobadi Party (OMP) the same year.
He had declared ceasefire after the release of two Italians he had abducted in March 2012 and has not resorted to any act of violence since then. However, there are a number of very serious charges, including murder, against him and that explains why he continues to be the most wanted Maoist in Odisha.