Berhampur: The Additional District and Sessions Judge Court here has sentenced former Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda to life imprisonment for waging war against the government.
The verdict was pronounced by Berhampur Additional District Judge (ADJ)-1 Sanjay Sahu Friday, who also has imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on Panda – once the most wanted man for Odisha police for several years.
The judge convicted the Maoist leader under section 121 of the IPC while discharging him from section 124 of the IPC (unlawful activities).
The Maoist leader’s counsel Deepak Patnaik, when contacted, said that his client will challenge the judgment in the High Court on grounds that the judge has not applied his judicial mind in the case.
He said the judge had censured the police and the prosecution for failing to produce proper evidence relating to this case and had ordered that a copy of the judgment be sent to the Director General of Police and the Berhampur Superintendent of Police.
It may be mentioned here that the Red leader and then general secretary of newly floated outfit CPI-MLM Sabyasachi Panda — also known as Sunil — was arrested from a rented house at Mangalbarpeta sahi in Berhampur late at night July 17, 2014 during a combing operation.
Many had suspected this operation as ‘staged’ though.
As many as 135 cases have been filed against the Maoist leader and he has so far been acquitted in 52 of these by the courts so far.
The dreaded Maoist leader was wanted in many high profile cases such as the murder of Swami Laxamananda Saraswati and four of his aides in Kandhamal district in 2008 that had triggered communal violence in the region, Nayagarh district armoury loot in February 2008 that killed at least 15 policemen and for his involvement in the kidnapping of two Italians tourists in 2012.