Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, July 31:
The interrogation of top Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda began at the Odisha Crime Branch headquarters here a short while ago in the presence of his lawyer Amiya Patnaik.
The questioning would continue till late in the afternoon, Crime Branch sources said. Panda will be mainly questioned on the attack on Nayagarh armoury in February 2008 in which 14 policemen were killed and a large quantity of arms and ammunition was looted in a daring operation.
A set of 40 questions has been prepared for the interrogation, the sources said.
The Maoist leader has been kept under a three tier security arrangement with a DSP rank officer and five other officers in-charge of Sabyasachi’s high security cell, sources said.
While no one is being allowed into the Crime Branch headquarters, the entire premises has been put under CCTV surveillance, sources in the Crime Branch said.
The interrogation team is being led by Crime branch IG Yogesh Bahadur Khurania. The investigating officer (IO) in the Nayagarh case is also part of the team.
Earlier in the day, Sabyasachi’s wife Mili Panda and his lawyer Amiya Patnaik reached the Crime Branch headquarters.
Mili Panda told reporters waiting outside the Crime Branch office premises; “I have complete faith in the judiciary. We are here just to see that my husband is not tortured physically or mentally. We are not interested in listening to what is being interrogated.”
Panda was brought to Cuttack from Nayagarh yesterday amid tight security after the Nayagarh SDJM court granted the Crime Branch to take him on a nine-day remand.
Apart from the conditions imposed by the Brahmapur district and sessions court, the Nayagarh SDJM court has imposed a fresh condition asking Crime branch officials interrogating Panda to reveal their identity before questioning him, Panda’s lawyer told media persons.
“Officers interrogating him have to reveal their identity and tell him which case they are interrogating him about, besides informing his family member and lawyer about it,” Patnaik said.
The Brahmapur district court had earlier upheld the decision of the lower court to allow the presence of Panda’s lawyer or family members during his interrogation, but had said they can only see him but not hear the interrogation.