Bhubaneswar: Five years after the brutal killing of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge of Phulbani convicted hardcore Maoist Udaya and seven other accused in this case. The court sentenced them with life imprisonmnent. The court also imposed fine of Rs 10,000 each.
They have been convicted for murder, criminal conspiracy, rioting and possessing illegal arms. Those found guilty are Duryadhan Sonamajhi of Badegaon village, Munda Badamajhi of Durungipadi village, Bijay Kumar Sanseth of Talamadhuguda, Budhadev Naik of Kilanga village, Bhaskar Sunamajhi of Katiguda, Sanatana Badamajhi of Lambabadi and Garanath Chalanseth of Sortul village.
It may be noted that on the night of August 23, 2008, Swami Laxmanananda was killed while celebrating Janmashtami at his ashram at Jalespata under Tumudibandha police station of Kandhmal District. The assailants also gunned down four of his followers— Amrutanandaji, Mata Bhaktimayee, Kishor Baba and a guest Purendra .
The Court while convicting Pulari Rama Rao alias Udaya who belongs to Vansadhara division of CPI (Maoist), however, acquitted Somanath Dandasena alias Jadu of Chandraput in Rayagada district, for lack of evidence.
The case was first tried in a fast-track court and then transferred to the court of Additional District & Sessions Judge. The Court relied on evidences of 35 prosecution witnesses.
Dr Laxmikanta Dash, state general secretary of Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram alleged that Government is not serious to nab the main conspirator and other murderers of Swami Laxmananda.He said this conviction is just an eye wash.
Dr Dash said that Odisha High Court in 2011 ordered for ‘further investigation’ into the gruesome murder. But unfortunately Government and the investigating agency have not proceeded a single step. The investigating agency did not investigate 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 that Saraswati would be eliminated. Even the resolution copy was also submitted to the crime branch, but it did not probe into that angle.
“Just one day after the killing of Swamiji, two persons were apprehended by local people when they were washing blood-stained clothes. Black mask and knife were also found with them. They were let-off by the police without effective interrogation,” Dr Dash added.
Now it is quite clear that Government and the investing agencies are trying to protect the conspirators in this case. State unit of Bharatiya Janata Party also came down heavily on State Government for not arresting the real conspirator and others involved in the gruesome murder.
“Conspirators and murderers in this case have not been arrested so far. Killers of Swamiji who have openly claimed their involvement in this murder through media have not been arrested. So these people must be attested immediately,” Sajjan Sharma, BJP state spokesperson demanded.