It has been a ‘so-near-yet-so far’ affair for security forces on the trail of Odisha’s top Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda, who has been on the run for quite some time.
As talks do the rounds about the possibility of his surrender, of his joining active politics or even of his being eliminated during one such encounter, Panda reportedly gave the forces the slip yet again on Saturday in the forests of Ganjam district. According to Ganjam SP Asish Kumar Singh, Panda was pinned down at one place but managed to escape.
A joint operation was launched by Ganjam district voluntary force (DVF), special operations group (SOG), the CRPF and the Gajapati police in the triangular areas of Badagada, Seragada and Mohona on the midnight of April 11. During the operation a hardcore Maoist of the Odisha Maobadi Party, Kandra Dalabehera of Patachanchara, under Badagada police, was nabbed.
He reportedly revealed Panda’s movements. The police said the arrested rebel even took the police team on Saturday to Sabyasachi’s Maoist camp in the dense forest near Richagurha.
As the forces challenged the rebels, Sabyasachi escaped with his followers, taking advantage of the thick forest cover.
The police later destroyed the camp and recovered 7 guns, including an SLA and one 303 rifle, and 102 rounds of bullets.