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Vikash Sharma

The Opposition Congress on Monday tried to corner the Odisha government in the Assembly by raising the murder case involving Nayagarh-based cameraman Manas Swain.

Congress MLA Santosh Singh Saluja said that the mother of the deceased had alleged the complicity of Minister Dibya Shankar Mishra in the case. Despite the allegations, no action has been taken in this regard so far, he said.

Saluja also questioned the decision of the government to hand over the probe to the Crime Branch at a time when it was being investigated by the Odisha Police.

“As no action was taken against the concerned Minister whose complicity was also alleged in the sensational Mamita Meher murder case, the investigation of the Manas Swain murder case should be handed over to the CBI,” demanded Saluja.

Earlier in the day, a joint team of the Crime Branch and Bhadrak Police arrested Sharmishta Rout, the prime accused in the Manas Swain murder case. Apart from Sharmishta, her associate Jhuna was also rounded up by the police.

Both Sharmishta and Jhuna were arrested from Nalanga area of Bhadrak district when they were returning from Kolkata in a bus.

Manas Swain, a resident of Godipokhari village in Ranpur area of Nayagarh had gone missing on February 7. He had reportedly gone to Bhadrak from Bhubaneswar for shooting a marriage function when he was abducted, taken to a room at Dayal Ashram in Bhubaneswar, assaulted and tortured. Later, his body was disposed of in Nayagarh.

So far, seven persons including retired Odisha Information Service (OIS) officer Niranjan Sethi have been arrested in connection with the murder case.

Responding to the allegations levelled by Saluja, BJD MLA Uma Samantray said, “Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik never spares the guilty. The Crime Branch has already arrested the prime accused Sharmishta Rout today.”

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