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Vikash Sharma

In a sensational twist in the investigation into the murder of Manas Swain, the Bhadrak Police on Monday arrested two more persons, including a retired Odisha Information Service (OIS) officer, for their alleged involvement in the elimination of the Nayagarh cameraman.

The accused have been identified as Niranjan Sethi, the former OIS officer, and Raj alias Ranjan Nayak. Sethi was earlier posted as the Technical Director (Information and Public Relations Department), Odisha government.

Divulging details, senior police officials said that though Niranjan was not present during the abduction, he was very much a part of the conspiracy that had been hatched to abduct and kill the cameraman and subsequently dispose the body.

Police have so far arrested five persons in connection with the brutal murder of 28-year-old cameraman. However, Sarmistha Rout, the owner of the web channel where Manas used to work, is still absconding.

Sarmishta is suspected to have played a key role in the murder case, though her involvement is yet to be ascertained. Apart from Sarmishta, one of her associates is also believed to be involved in the crime. Multiple police teams are working on the case and efforts are on to nab them.

Jatin Panda, Additional SP Bhadrak said, “Both Niranjan and Raj were involved in the entire conspiracy and were also present at Dayal Ashram in Bhubaneswar where Manas was brutally tortured and assaulted. We have ample evidence against the accused.”

Panda said that Manas was murdered over a dispute regarding some memory chip/card. “We are yet to recover the memory chip,” Panda said.

Manas Swain, a resident of Godipokhari village in Ranpur area of Nayagarh had gone missing on February 7. He had come to Bhadrak from Bhubaneswar for shooting of a marriage function.

Subsequently, Manas was abducted, taken to a room at Dayal Ashram in Bhubaneswar where he was assaulted and tortured. Later, his body was disposed in Nayagarh. According to police, Manas was beaten up with hands and some fatal weapon.

The Chandbali police had recovered Manas' body from Badhipatna hills in Rajsunakhala area of Nayagarh on March 12.

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