BHUBANESWAR: The chief of Manavbad Sangathan Manas Das was arrested by Khurda police on Thursday for his alleged involvement in the murder of a farmer near Abhimanpur village within Khurda Sadar police limits on August 1.
Earlier, prime accused Swapneswar Nayak of Dingar village along with his associates Tulu Behera, Baikuntha Nayak, Bijay Nayak, Shyamaghana Nayak and Jogeswar Nayak were held for the murder of Satyabrata Nayak (45) of Abhimanpur.
Sources said Swapneswar along with the other accused had thrashed Satyabrata and forced him to kneel down as his brother-in-law Beleswar Parida had not attended one of their meetings. They then took Satyabrata to Karadagadia, 20 km away from Abhimanpur village and thrashed him to death in Tulu’s house.
Satyabrata was associated with Manavbad Sangathan, an outfit that claims to fight for the rights of the poor and tribals. But later he distanced himself from it. While this had infuriated Swapneswar, the fact that Beleswar had formed an organisation - Nilamadhab Adivasi Sangh - added to his ire. Swapneswar, a local political leader, not only thrashed Satyabrata to death but also forced his nephew Basant Nayak to perform the last rites in an attempt to destroy evidence and evade arrest.
Police said that the accused had threatened Basant claiming they had the support of ‘Guruji’ Manas Das and warned him to not lodge a police complaint. During investigation, police ascertained that Swapneswar had organised a meeting on August 1 to enroll more members into his outfit. “Swapneswar, Tulu and Baikuntha were brought on police remand on Thursday for further questioning. During their interrogation, prima facie evidence was established against Manas in connection with the murder and he was apprehended,” said Central Range IG Narasingha Bhol.
In a related development, Khurda police arrested Manas’ son Manoranjan for thrashing a father-son duo for reportedly quitting Manavbad Sangathan. Police had earlier arrested six associates of Manoranjan in connection with the case.