Leader of Odisha Maovadi Party (OMP) Sabyasachi Panda after silence of few months has come out with an audio message in support of the eight persons who were convicted and sentenced to rigorous life imprisonment in the murder case of Viswa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati and his four associates in 2008.
It may be noted that Sabyasachi, who was expelled from the outlawed CPI (Maoist) organisation in 2012, happens to be the prime accused in this case. After this high profile murder which had sparked off large scale communal violence district, Panda had claimed naxalites including him were involved in this murder. Through his audio statement to the media in Kandhamal, Sabyasachi claimed that all the eight persons convicted by the Phulbani additional district and sessions court were innocents and had no links with the murder. According to him even the Maoist from Andhra Pradesh, Paluri Rama Rao alias Uday, who was convicted in this case, was also wrongly convicted. He welcomed the acquittal of a tribal in this case. He claimed that several persons involved in this murder had already surrendered before the police. But lawyer of prosecution, Anil Kumar Pradhan thwarted claims of Sabyasachi. According to him there was clear evidence against all the convicted persons.