Bhubaneswar: A team of Chandbali police conducted searches at a number of places here Wednesday afternoon in connection with the alleged kidnapping and murder case of cameraman Manas Swain.
A source said that the police team carried out searches at the office of ‘Sampurna’ web channel which is owned by key accused in the case Sarmistha Rout and was subsequently sealed, the source added.
Later in the day, Odisha Crime Branch took over investigation of the case and searches have been intensified to trace Sarmistha and her associates who are on the run. Chandbali police sent the web channel owner’s earlier arrested brother Parameswar to the judicial custody.
Meanwhile, two teams have been formed to conduct the probe and DSP Kalpana Sahu will lead the investigations. One of the teams will conduct probe in different districts linked to the alleged murder while the other team will try and trace the main accused in the case, who has been absconding, the Crime Branch ADG Sanjeeb Panda said.
The teams will spread probe to outside of Odisha, if required, as there is information that Sarmistha has fled outside, ADG Panda added.
It is pertinent to mention here that police have so far arrested six persons for their involvement in the alleged murder. Among those arrested are former I&PR director Niranjan Sethi and Parameswar Rout, the brother of Sarmistha. Pararemswar had allegedly planned for his sister’s escape following the cold-blooded murder of Swain.
During preliminary interrogation, an accused in the cameraman Swain murder case identified as Bhagyadhar Nayak, who was previously arrested, informed Wednesday that the cameraman was kidnapped in prime accused Sarmishtha Rout’s car, a senior police official said.
According to the police source, a two-member team of the Chandbali police broke a window glass of the abandoned white-coloured sedan and later seized a number of important documents from the vehicle.
However, the car was spotted earlier in the day when parked in the basement of Sky Tower apartment under Airfield police limits here.
Security personnel in the Sky Tower apartment has expressed that another accused and the retired senior officer in Odisha government Sethi used to visit the web channel owner Sarmistha’s house at her SKY Tower apartment here very frequently. Sethi was coming almost thrice a week, the security personnel asserted adding that Sarmistha had introduced the retired official as chairman of her web channel.
Orissa High Court in Cuttack rejected the anticipatory bail plea of Sarmistha Tuesday and also directed her to appear in a lower court maximum within the next four weeks. Later in the evening, her brother Parameswar was arrested from Vijayawada city of Andhra Pradesh.
The victim Swain was working as the cameraman of the web channel owned by Sarmistha. Swain’s family members filed a missing report with Chandbali police February 14 following which a case was registered under Sections 373 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code.