Suryakant Jena

With the passing of each day, the Crime Branch is slowly piecing together the missing links of the murder plot of Manas Swain with vital clues obtained from the accused involved in the case. However, the probe officials have not been able to track down the real motive behind the gruesome murder of the young cameraman. 

During the five days of the remand so far, the police claims to have obtained many crucial information on the kidnapping, murder and dumping of Manas' body by the arrested prime accused Sarmistha and former Odisha I&PR Director Niranjan Sethi. 

On Saturday, the CB also unravelled the story of Sharmistha's escape following the murder and Niranjan's role in helping her evade the police net. According to the Crime Branch, Niranjan had provided Sharmistha Rs 10000 and a car to help her escape from the State. 

On March 7, Sharmistha reached her in-law's house in Jajpur Kaliapani along with her aide Jhuna Bhoi and stayed there for three days. Thereafter, they travelled to Guwahati via Kolkata to remain out of the reach of police for several days. But recently, the duo was forced to return to Kolkata after running out of money and during their course of their clandestine return to Odisha, they were nabbed from Nalanga area in Bhadrak.

The Crime Branch, while conducting probe into the murder case today, took both Sarmistha and Niranjan to various locations for crime scene re-creation and discovered many important information. 

According to the Crime Branch, Sharmistha and her aides kidnapped Manas from Palaspur area in Chandbali during the morning hours of February 7 and brought him to Dayal Ashram in Bhubaneswar. On the same day, Manas was shifted to Sarmistha's news channel, Sampoorna, office before the arrival of former OIS officer Niranjan Sethi to the spot. 

Sethi in his confession before the probe officials is allegedly said to have admitted to have assaulted Manas at the news channel office in the presence of Sarmistha, her sister-in-law, Jhuna and her husband, a computer operator and the fourth accused, Raj. Meanwhile, during crime scene re-creation at the residence of Sarmistha, the CB officials have reportedly seized a mobile phone of the prime accused and a diary which belongs to Niranjan. 

Surprisingly, the CB officials found that the sister-in-law of Sharmistha who had been staying at her residence, flat number 204, for few days, has reportedly vacated the house on Friday after signing an undertaking before the inmates. 

On the other hand, the five day remand period of the four arrested accused has ended today. They will be produced before the Chandbali JMFC court tomorrow where the Crime Branch is expected to pray for further extension of custody of all the accused.

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