: A Maoist from Andhra Pradesh, Paluri Rama Rao alias Uday was convicted by the Phulbani additional district & sessions court on Tuesday in the murder case of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati in Kandhamal district in 2008.

But Somanath Dandasena, the co-accused in this case was acquitted by the court due to lack of evidence against him. The Additional District Judge (ADJ) Rajendra Kumar Tosh, who convicted Uday would pronounce punishment on Oct 3.

Till now the court has convicted eight out of nine accused in this high profile murder case that had sparked off large scale communal violence in Kandhamal district. On Sept 30, the same court had convicted seven persons in the Swami Lakshmanananda murder case. Their punishment would also be announced on Oct 3.

Conviction of Uday, proved the that Maoists were involved in the murder of the VHP leader and his four associates at his Jalaspata ashram on Aug 23, 2008 night. He was a ‘commander’ of the Basadara Division of the outlawed CPI-Maoist party, which is active in Rayagada, Kandhamal and Gajapati districts of south Orissa. Uday been arrested in Rayagada district in April 2009.