Vikash Sharma

The Orissa High Court on Tuesday issued a notice to the Odisha Government while hearing a petition demanding a CBI probe into the murder of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati. The VHP leader, along with four of his disciples, was killed at his Jalespeta Ashram in Kandhamal district on August 23, 2008.

Though the Odisha government had ordered a Crime Branch into the incident, it failed to unravel the exact mystery behind the murder of Saraswati even as Maoist involvement was suspected in the killing.

Advocate Debasish Hota, who had demanded for a CBI probe, said, “The Crime Branch conducted the probe by overlooking four important aspects. Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati was working against religious conversions, and trafficking of cattle and worked for the development of tribals. The UPA government was in power and it had withdrawn CRPF jawans who were deployed for Saraswati’s security on August 15, 2008.”

Hota further stated that eight days later, Odisha Police personnel were not present and the leader was killed. “Both the UPA and BJD governments are responsible for this. Today, the High Court has directed the Odisha government to submit a response by March 5 as to why a CBI probe will not be ordered into the case,” Hota added.

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