Verdict on two others in seer

Phulbani: A day after convicting seven persons in the sensational Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati murder case, the Phulbani additional district & sessions court on Tuesday pronounced the verdict on two others, Somnath Dandasena and Maoist leader Pulari Rama Rao. Dandasena has been acquitted in the case while Rama Rao was proved guilty.
The quantum of punishment for all eight accused will be pronounced on October 3. Delivering the verdict, additional District Judge Rajendra Kumar Tosh on Monday convicted seven persons, Gadanath Chalanseth, Bijaya Kumar Shyamseth, Buddha Nayak, Sanatan Badamajhi, Duryadhan Sunamajhi, Bhaskar Sunamajhi and Munda Badamajhi. All were convicted under different provisions of IPC including murder and criminal conspiracy, rioting and unlawful assembly.
The district administration made adequate security arrangements for the high profile verdict today.
In 2008, Saraswati and four of his followers were gunned down on August 23 while celebrating Janmastami festival at Jalespata Ashram of Chakapada in Kandhamal, a tribal-dominated district.
The VHP leader’s assasination triggered a major communal riot in the district claiming at least 38 lives and damaging several houses and churches. Over 25,000 people belonging to Christian community deserted their native after the irate mob attacked them and torched their houses accusing them to be the conspirators of the Hindu seer’s murder.
Later, the government handed over the case to State crime branch for investigation. A judicial commission was also constituted with the appointment of Justice AS Naidu as its head to probe the Kandhamal riot case.