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Most wanted Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda arrested in Odisha

CM congratulates Odisha police, urges ultras to give up violence  
Bhubaneswar: Putting all the speculations to rest, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday confirmed the arrest of most wanted Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda in Berhampur in Ganjam district on Thursday night.

“Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda was arrested on Thursday night in Berhampur. He was involved in killing of Swami Laxmananada Saraswati and abduction of two Italian nationals. He was also involved in killing 25 security personnel and 34 civilians,” the Chief Minister informed the Assembly and also to mediaperosns outside the House.

The Chief Minister further congratulated the Odisha police for arresting Panda and urged the Maoists to give up violence.

Sources said, the top extremist leader was arrested from Badabazaar in Berhampur town of Ganjam district. Arms, ammunition and Maoist documents were also seized from him. Police sources said he was apprehended while he was taking shelter at an aide's house in Badabazaar.

Sabyasachi, the topmost homebred Red rebel in Odisha, is accused of several crimes and was wanted in more than 50 criminal cases, including murder of senior VHP leader Swami Laxmanananda 
Saraswati and four others in Kandhamal in August 2008, kidnapping of two Italian nationals in March 2012 and killing of over a dozen policemen and armoury loot in Nayagarh in February 2008.

He also carried an award of Rs 20 lakh on his head. He had formed his own extremist outfit Odisha Maovadi Party in August 2012, after he was removed from the outlawed CPI (Maoist), of which he was secretary, Odisha State Organising Committee, for some years.

Panda was wanted in more than 50 criminal cases, including the murder of Swami Laxamananda Saraswati and four of his aides in Kandhamal district in 2008 that had triggered communal violence in the region.

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