VISAKHAPATNAM: only the Odisha police but also their Andhra Pradesh counterparts. Though Panda is said to have lost his control over the region, the police officials are confident that he will furnish some information on the Maoist activities that would help the police in keeping a tab on the Left wing extremists on the Andhra-Odisha Border (AOB) area.
The Odisha police nabbed Panda (48) from a house in Berhampur in Ganjam district, about 180 km south of Bhubaneswar.
Senior police officials of Andhra Pradesh told Express that they would seek the custody of Panda for questioning in connection with cases filed against him in the state. More than 60 criminal cases have been slapped on Panda. “He has been an active member and has good knowledge about the Maoist activities along the AOB area. As the Maoists have expelled him two years ago, he might cooperate with us,” a senior police officer told Express.
Sabyasachi Panda is well-known for his active participation in the movement over the last two decades. He had a firm grip over Rayagada, Gajapati, Ganjam, Kandhamal and Nayagarh districts in Odisha during his heydays. He emerged as one of the important leaders along AOB when the CPI (Maoist) was formed following the merger of People’s War Group and the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) in 2004. He is also said to have been involved in Maoist actitivies in Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh.
However, Panda, who was working as secretary of the Odisha state organising committee, was expelled from the CPI (Maoist) party after he allegedly kidnapped two Italians in 2012. He levelled allegations against the party’s leadership including Mupalla Laxmana Rao alias Ganapati for his ‘dictatorial’ attitude and floated his own outfit called the Odisha Maoist Party and then formed another outfit CPI (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist).
“His arrest would not impact the Maoist movement in Odisha or Andhra Pradesh. But his arrest itself is a huge achievement and we plan to seek his custody,” an IPS officer in the state said on condition of anonymity.