Pradeep Pattanayak

The Odisha Crime Branch will take Sarmistha Rout, the prime accused in the murder of cameraman Manas Swain, and her aide Jhuna Bhoi on further remand for a period of three days to intensify investigation into the case. The Chandbali JMFC court on Sunday granted the Crime Branch to take the accused duo on remand till April 7. 

With the completion of the earlier five days’ remand period, the Crime Branch deposed Sarmistha Rout, Jhuna Bhoi, former OIS officer Niranjan Sethi and Ranjan Nayak alias Raj before the JMFC and prayed the court for five day remand of the accused. 

It is believed that since several aspects of the case, including the cause behind the crime or the motive, are yet to be cracked, the agency had sought to take the accused on further remand. 

Two other accused involved in the case namely, Niranjan Sethi and Ranjan Nayak have been sent to jail.  

“The court has granted three days’ remand for Sarmistha and Jhuna. They will be produced before the court at 1 pm on April 7,” said Dhananjay Udgata, counsel appearing for Sarmistha.

Notably, during the first five-day long remand period, the Crime Branch has managed to elicit lot of information from the accused regarding the abduction, murder and dumping of the Manas' body through interrogation and crime scene recreations at various locations. 

But the probe agency is still in dark about the story angle surrounding the memory card/chip. It is expected that the Crime Branch is likely to interrogate the duo regarding all the details and whereabouts of the card during the remand period from tomorrow. 

Cameraman Manas Swain, a resident of Godipokhari village in Ranpur area of Nayagarh, worked with a web portal named Sampoorna, owned by Sarmistha. He went missing on February 7 and a month later, his body was recovered from Badhipatna hills in Rajsunakhala area of Nayagarh on March 12.

After remaining elusive for several days, Sarmistha and her associate Jhuna were arrested from Nalanga area in Bhadrak district on March 28, when the duo was returning to Odisha from Kolkata in a bus. Prior to that, Niranjan and Ranjan were too arrested in connection with the brutal murder case.

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