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Mrunal Manmay Dash

The Odisha Crime Branch, which is investigating the murder of Nayagarh cameraman Manas Swain, on Friday claimed that the prime accused in the case, Sarmistha Rout, has confessed to her involvement in the gruesome crime.

In a press release, the Odisha police said Sarmistha admitted that she had kidnapped Swain from Palaspur under Chandbali Police limits in Bhadrak along with her associates and took him to Dayal Ashram in Bhubaneswar under Air Field Police Station. It was there they murdered the cameraman.

“During the remand period the accused (Sarmistha Rout, Jhuna Bhoi, Niranjan Sethi and Raj, alias Ranjan Nayak) were put to sustained interrogation by a team of CID CB officers. During interrogation the prime accused Sarmistha Rout confessed to have kidnapped the deceased, Manas Swain from Palaspur along with Ranjan Naik, Jhuna Bhoi, Bhagyadhar Nayak and Nilu, alias Bibek in her car on February 7, 2022. They brought Swain to Dayal Ashram by noon on the same day (February 7) and assaulted him brutally which resulted in his death,” the police said in the release.

The accused then shifted the body in the afternoon hours on February 8, 2022 in Sarmistha’s car and disposed the body at a barren land under Ranpur Police limit in Nayagarh district. They then proceeded to a place located along the Daitari-Paradip Expressway, about two kilometres from Chandikhol, at around midnight to dispose off some other incriminating materials like Gainti (pickaxe), Fauda (spade), saree and gunny bag, the investigators said.

Interestingly, the police claimed that Sarmishta and her associate Jhuna Bhoi took every care not to leave a trace of their involvement and the corpse.

“Sarmistha along with Jhuna purchased jute bag, gloves, thread from unit I market Bhubaneswar. The duo had also purchased 10 kg salt from Rajsunakhala on their way to Nayagarh. Bhagyadhar and Ranjan purchased fauda and Gainti from Rajsunakhala.” Needless to say that salt was used by the accused to ensure the quick decomposition of the body, remains of which were found from a pit.

Meanwhile, the Crime Branch on Friday recreated the crime scene with Sarmistha. On Friday morning, Sarmistha was taken to Palaspur in Chandbali where Manas had gone to shoot video at a wedding. During the crime scene recreation, Sarmistha allegedly showed demos of how they hatched the plan to abduct Manas near a Dola Mandap at Badhimuha Sahi.

Later, Sarmistha was taken to Bhubaneswar Dayal Ashram where Manas was held hostage after abduction and subsequently murdered. Sarmistha showed demos how Manas was murdered and where the weapons used in the crime were disposed of, police said.

However, there has been no clarity on the motive behind the horrific crime, though the Crime Branch on Friday said that it could be more than just a camera chip.

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