BERHAMPUR: Top Maoist leader and founder of Odisha Maobadi Party, Sabyasachi Panda, was sentenced to life imprisonment by Ganjam District Additional District and Sessions Judge on Saturday.
He was convicted under Section 121 of Indian Penal Code for waging war against the State, said Additional Public Prosecutor Gyanendranath Jena. Panda was arrested from a rented house in Bada Bazaar area in Berhampur town on July 18, 2014. Police had then seized US-made revolver, 800 grams of gold ornaments, Rs 2.11 lakh in cash, electronic gadgets and Maoist literature from him.
Basing on statements of 15 witnesses, the punishment was awarded to him by ADJ-1 Sanjay Kumar Sahoo. The ADJ-1 also imposed a penalty of Rs 10,000 on Panda. The Maoist leader is currently lodged in the Circle Jail here. Jena said several cases under Sections 121,121(A),126 and other relevant sections of the Arms Act,1959 were lodged against Panda at various police stations in Ganjam, Phulbani, Gajapati and Rayagada.
However, Panda’s counsel Deepak Patnaik said the judgment would be challenged at a higher court. He said police had slapped several false cases against Panda and of 135 cases registered against him, he has already been acquitted in 52.
He said it is rumoured that several cases are pending against Panda but except those in Ganjam, Nayagarh, Gajapati, Kandhamal and Rayagada, no case is pending against him. After Panda’s arrest in 2014, police also registered cases against his wife Subhashree Panda alias Mili. On Friday, Mili surrendered before Soroda JMFC court as per the direction of Orissa High Court in connection with a case of 2011 and was released on conditional bail. She is contesting the elections this time from Ranpur Assembly seat on Congress ticket.