IN a significant development, Orissa High Court ordered ‘further investigation’ into the gruesome murder of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati. The High Court asked the Crime Branch to take the contentions raised by the petitioners into the purview of the investigation. Justice MM Das gave the direction in response to a petition seeking inquiry of the murder case by an independent agency.
Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati’s disciple Madhav Chaitanya, the informant and key eye-witness in the case, had filed a petition seeking an impartial inquiry by an independent agency into the murder. In his petition he cited loopholes in the investigation process of the Crime Branch. Later VHP leader DP Kar also filed an intervention petition in the case.
The petitioners alleged that the Crime Branch although submited two chargesheets in this case naming 14 accused, had not investigated the case properly. Crime Branch did not investigate the role of local Betikala church, which had reportedly passed a resolution just prior to the incident to eliminate Saraswatiji. Even the resolution copy was submitted to the Crime Branch, but it did not probed into that angle.
Pointing out discrepancies in the investigation, the petitioners claimed that just one day after the killing of Swamiji, two persons were apprehended by local people when they were washing blood-stained cloths. Black mask and knife were also found from them. They were “let-off by the police without effective interrogation,” the petition alleged.
Shri Madhav Chaitanya alleged the Test Identification Parade had not been done in the case.
The petitioners had stated that the Crime Branch claimed involvement of Maoist Sabyasachi Panda in the murder of Swamiji, but it failed to give a satisfactory answer about the motive of the Maoists behind the brutal murder. It was also cited in the petition that Swamiji was attacked eight times in between 1969 and December 2007, but the Crime Branch did not bother to inquire as who had attacked Swamiji on earlier occasions.
“Taking serious note of the contentions raised by us, the Court has directed Crime Branch to probe the case in a proper way taking into consideration the grievances made by us. The Court has directed the investigating agency to probe the matter thoroughly, submit a complete report in the trial court as the earliest,” said Shri Sarbeswar Behera, petitioner’s counsel.
It may be noted that Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati was killed along with four of his disciples at Jalespeta Ashram in Kandhamal district in 2008.