HC seeks status report on Saraswatis murder

Cuttack: Odisha High Court on Wednesday sought status report from the Crime Branch on developments in the investigation into Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati murder case.

Hearing a plea seeking CBI probe into the killing, Justice Sanju Panda directed the Crime Branch to submit status report.

As per petitioner Brahmachari Madhav Chaitanya, the investigating agency has not called him for identification of accused despite being eyewitness to the gory incident. Besides, several other eyewitnesses present during the killing of Saraswati have not been summoned for identification purpose. The investigation process indicates towards lapses, Chaitanya alleged.

Moreover, police have file chargesheet against sever persons in haste, he added.

“Today it was argued and ultimately the court has directed the government to file an affidavit as to what they have done, why they have not examined certain witnesses and why they have not examined certain documents,” petitioner’s lawyer S N Krishnamurty said.

On August 23, 2008, Saraswati was killed by unidentified assailants at his Jalaspeta ashram. Four other disciples were also killed in the incident.

Following the killing of the Hindu leader, communal riot broke out in Kandhamal. Many villagers were forced to flee houses after the incident.

After months to the incident, top Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda alias Sunil had claimed that Maoists were involved in the killing of Saraswati.

“Out party has given death sentence to Laxmanananda. He was not fighting for the Hindu people. He attacked the religious freedom of people,”  Sabyasachi Panda had said earlier.

It may be mentioned here that the Laxmananda Saraswati murder case is being investigated by Crime Branch and the Kandhamal riot cases are being probed by a commission headed by retired Justice Sarat Mohapatra.

Meanwhile, the court has posted the next hearing to May 4.