BHUBANESWAR/NABARANGPUR: The Crime Branch(CB) has identified Maoist leaders Jane Salem and Satyam Ghabede as the mastermind behind the killing of BJD MLA Jagabandhu Majhi. The court of Judicial Magistrate First Class at Umerkote has issued non-bailable warrants against the duo. While Salem heads the outlawed CPI (Maoist) Mainpur division in Chhattisgarh, Ghabede is area commander of Satinadi committee which covers Raighar block. The CB has already despatched a team to Chhattisgarh where the Maoists are based.
Local police and the CB, probing the high-profile murder of Majhi, had earlier suspected Maoists involvement. “There are obviously more people involved in the murder and their identities will be disclosed as we make progress in the investigation,” a CB spokesman said. Majhi and his personal security officer PK Patro were killed at a public meeting at Gona village on Sept 24 last year. The area bordering Chhattisgarh is a volatile area where Maoists hold sway.
Salem, giving interviews to a section of media had also claimed responsibility for Majhi’s killing and explained the reasons for eliminating him.
However, a section inside the ruling BJD had tried to give the murder a political colour. Even the family members of Majhi asserted a number of times that there was no Maoist involvement.
It is learnt that the CB team zeroed in on Salem and Ghabede after conducting thorough investigations both in Odisha and neighbouring Chhattisgarh.
The warrants followed DGP Manmohan Praharaj’s statement last week that the police had identified Majhi’s murderers and have “credible information” against them. However, the local police refused to give any information on the recent development stating that the CB is investigating the case and they have nothing to say.
Though it looks very difficult for the CB to arrest Salem and Ghabede, the sleuths are making efforts to keep legal records ready to proceed against them.