Odisha Police have intensified their operation to nab the state’s most wanted Maoist Sabyasachi Panda, two days after gunning down five of his alleged supporters in Gajapati district, officials said on Friday.
A senior state police official said the operation has been intensified in the southern districts of Ganjam, Gajapati, Kandhamal and Rayagada on the basis of intelligence inputs that Panda has been hiding in the forests of the region. The police have also circulated leaflets announcing reward for information leading to arrest of six rebels believed to be close to Panda. Panda carries a reward of about Rs.20 lakh on his arrest and is accused of being the mastermind of the Italian abduction crisis in the state in March this year. His group is also accused of killing Viswa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxamananda Saraswati and four of his aides which had sparked communal violence in Kandhamal district in 2008. Panda, recently expelled from the CPI-M (Maoist), has been continuing rebel activities after forming his own Odisha Maobadi Party (OMP). According to police, Panda has been on the run after five of his cadres were killed in a gunfight with security forces in Gajapati district on Wednesday.IANS