BHUBANESWAR: After eluding security forces for more than a decade and a half, dreaded Maoist Sabyasachi Panda was captured by police from a hideout in Berhampur in a midnight operation on Thursday.
Based on intelligence inputs, a team raided Bada Bazar area where Panda was found holed up in a house with half a kg of gold, Rs 2 lakh cash and a revolver.
Announcing his arrest in the State Assembly, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said Panda’s arrest was a big achievement for the Odisha police. Panda had been active in the state for more than two decades and was the guiding spirit behind the formation of the Chasi Mulia Samiti and Kui Lawwenga Sangha in Rayagada and Gajapati districts.
Director General of Police Sanjeev Marik said Berhampur police zeroed in on the house of one A Chandra Rao, where Panda had come in for treatment.
The Maoist attempted to escape, but police surrounded the room he had locked himself in. When they broke in, Panda offered resistance, but was overpowered. The 48-year-old Red rebel, who is wanted in a series of high-profile cases of Maoist violence, was carrying a reward of Rs 5 lakh on his head. A mathematics graduate and the son of a Communist leader of Nayagarh, Panda has been charged in at least 61 cases since 1995-96.
“In the Maoist violence that he planned, executed and participated in, at least 25 security personnel and 34 civilians were killed,” DGP Marik said.
There are 26 cases pending against him in Gajapati, 24 in Rayagada, nine in Nayagarh, two in Ganjam district. In at least 10 cases, he has been charged with murder.