BHUBANESWAR: Nearly five months after the alleged murder of cameraman Manas Swain, the Crime Branch on Friday filed a 905-page chargesheet in which it named eight persons, including former Odisha Information Officer Niranjan Sethi.
The agency filed the chargesheet in Chandbali JMFC Court under Sections 120-B, 201, 212, 302, 363, 364, 465, 467, 471 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). It has named prime accused Sarmistha Rout, her brother Parmeswar Rout and associates - retired Odisha Information Service (OIS) official Niranjan Sethi, Jhuna Bhoi, Ranjan Kumar Nayak, Bhagyadhar Nayak, Krushna Chandra Nayak and a juvenile in the chargesheet.
Manas' father Panchanan Swain had lodged a complaint in Chandbali police station alleging his son was kidnapped on February 7. However, after Bhadrak Police failed to trace Sarmistha, DGP Sunil Kumar Bansal on March 23 ordered a CB probe into the case.
Manas had worked as a cameraman with the web channel owned by Sarmistha for about six months but he quit his job in January this year after falling out with her. The Crime Branch investigation revealed that he was murdered as he was not handing over the videos and photographs of various events assigned to him by Sarmistha.
During investigation led by CB DSP Kalpana Sahoo, the agency seized the weapon of offence, Sarmistha's car, camera belonging to Manas from Jhuna's house and the mobile phones of the accused. Besides, other incriminating articles were seized from Dayal Ashram, a shelter home for elderly people in Sundarpada area of the city run by Sarmistha. The agency officers also questioned more than 40 witnesses as part of their investigation.
After kidnapping Manas near Digachhia in Bhadrak district, the accused brought him to Bhubaneswar on February 7 and kept him confined in Dayal Ashram where he was brutally assaulted. They found him dead when they returned to the spot the next day. The accused buried Manas' body near Nayagarh district's Budhipatna on February 8.