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Suryakant Jena

The sensational murder case of Nayagarh cameraman Manas Swain seems to be gradually opening the lid over a box-full of secrets -from the disappearance of the lensman to revelation about his murder and a web portal operator's alleged sleazy activities.

We take a detailed look at the chain of events of this murkey web of crime and retribution.

  • Manas, a resident of Godipokhari village in Ranpur area of Nayagarh, worked as a cameraman in a Bhubaneswar-based web portal, Sampoorna, run by one Sharmistha Rout who claimed herself to be a journalist.
  • On February 7, Manas had gone to shoot a wedding in Chandbali area of Bhadrak but went missing under mysterious circumstances. 
  • Following his disappearance, his family members filed complaints at Ranpur, Bhubaneswar and Chandbali. Acting on the complaint, police tracked down one Bhagyadhar Nayak, a driver who had ferried Manas to Chandbali. During the course of interrogation, the driver spilled the beans.
  • Following his disclosure, on March 12, the Chandbali police, with help of a team of cops from Ranpur, recovered the body of Manas from Badhipatna hills in Rajsunakhala area of Nayagarh.
  • During the course of the investigation, police also arrested two other accused Vivek Nayak of Dhamada village in Ranpur and Krushna Chandra Nayak of Old Town Bhubaneswar.
  • Police said a total of six accused have been arrested in connection with the case and there are evidences against all of them. Three accused are absconding. However, the prime accused in the murder, web portal operator Sharmistha, is still to be traced. Sharmistha is said to have gone into hiding after the muder of Manas.
  • It is suspected that Manas was kidnapped midway while returning home from Chandbali and detained at an elderly care home operated by Sharmistha in Bhubaneswar. There he was believably killed and then shifted to Nayagarh where the accused dumped his body. 

Reason Behind Murder?

  • Initial police investigation indicates that Sharmistha might have hatched the plan to eliminate Manas for he was reportedly in possession of some incriminating clips from porn videos suspected to have been shot by him in the direction of Sharmistha. 
  • Sharmistha was possibly trying to convince Manas to return the clips stored in a microchip with him, but he left the job and went back home. Worried, Sharmistha probably set up a team to track and kill Manas to get back the porn video clips. 
  • Sharmistha who also operates a geriatric home in Bhubaneswar named Dayal Ashram used to entertain noted personalities every day. She also uploaded the pictures of the visit by many such noted personalities to the elderly care home. 
  • The caretaker of Ashram said that Sharmistha used to shoot stories at the elderly home and at her office but clarified that she had no knowledge what kind of stories were being shot.
  • Sources said, a few days ago, Sharmistha had performed Shani Mela at the Dayal Ashram. The caretaker of the elderly home said she had been out of reach ever since. 
  • Though she loved to socialize, Sharmishtha has also been inactive on social media ever since the murder of Manas took place. 
  • Talks are aloud that she has been able to evade police radar due to her links with many high-profile personalities of Odisha government's ruling party. 

Demands From Manas' Family

  • Manas' brother has urged the police to act strongly and nab the prime accused, web portal owner Sharmistha, at any cost. Police should ensure that she is hanged till death for killing his brother, he said.

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