Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar/Rayagada, July 18:
Top Odisha Maoist leader and general secretary of newly floated outfit CPI-MLM Sabyasachi Panda alias Sunil has been arrested today during combing operations,Odisha DGP Sanjeev Marik said today.
Police raided a hideout on the basis of intelligence inputs and nabbed him, Director General of Police Sanjeev Marik told IANS.
He was arrested from a house in the Bada Bazar area of the city, he said.
“It was an intelligence based operation directly operated by Amitabha Thakur, deputy inspector general of police at Berhampur. There was a raid in a specific area and he was arrested,” Marik said.
The state government had announced a reward of Rs.5 lakh on him
Strong rumours about his arrest had been circulating since this morning.
However, top police sources were tight-lipped on this.
Sources said the formal announcement would be made, during the day, by the chief minister in the Assembly and followed up by a press briefing by the DGP.
Sabyasachi, who formed the Odisha Maobadi Party in 2012 following his break up with the CPI-Maoist, is presently the head of a new outfit called the CPI-Marxist-Leninist-Maoist ( CPI-MLM).
Subhashree (Mili) Panda, wife of Sabyasachi Panda, told a local TV channel said a journalist friend from Brahmapur had informed her of husband’s arrest by the police on Thursday.
A plan to nab him was launched a year ago by the former DGP Prakash Mishra and there were several raids on his jungle camps. In 2012 November, five persons suspected to have been his associates were killed during a raid on his camp in Bhaliaguda in Gajapati district. Panda’s outfit was kept under pressure all through.Dandapani Mohanty and his son Sangram Mohanty, who were allegedly providing him with logistics and financial support were put behind bars. Most of the cadre of his earlier outfit Odisha Maobadi Party were either arrested or were amde to surrender. The places where he had dumped arms and even cash were located and seized.
Former DGP SN Tiwari told a local channel that it was no major achievement as Sabyasachi had shunned violence for the last two years. He said Sabyasachi’s arrest would hardly have any impact on Maoist activities in the state as presently he had no cadres left with him and Maoist operations in the state are presently controlled by Maoists from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.
Panda was wanted in more than 50 criminal cases, including the murder of Swami Laxamananda Saraswati and four of his aides in Kandhamal district in 2008 that had triggered communal violence in the region. He was also involved in the Nayagarh district armoury loot in February 2008 .
In March 2012 he had abducted two Italian tourists.