Berhampur: The local Court today convicted dreaded Maoist Sabyasachi Panda and awarded him life imprisonment in connection with a case of 2014 (case no 127/14, Bada Bazar PS, Berhampur today.
While pronouncing the verdict, ADJ-I Sanjay Sahoo also ordered him to pay Rs 10,000 fine failing which he would undergo one year more imprisonment, government lawyer Janedra Jena said.
Based on the statements of 15 witnesses including some government officials, the judge awarded him the punishment, Jena added. Panda was convicted under section 121 of IPC (waging war against State and nation), he added.
“We argued in the court and appealed to award him strict punishment as he is involved in series of serious crimes. There were enough strong evidence against him prove him guilty. Cash worth over Rs 2 lakh, gun, and 8 kg gold were seized from him during arrest in Berhampur in 2014. During arrest, he also clashed with police in which some police officials were also injured”, Jena informed.
On the other hand, Panda’s lawyer Dipak Patnaik expressed dissatisfaction over the judgment and said he will move higher court against the lower court judgment.
“In 62-page judgment, the court reprimanded the prosecution system and police for failing to produce more evidence. But, the judge awarded the punishment on his own discretion. We will challenge the verdict in higher court,” Patnaik said.
Arrested on July 17, 2014 from a house in Mangalabarpeta Sahi in Berhampur, Panda is facing 135 cases in different police stations. He was acquitted in 52 cases and this was the 53rd case, his lawyer said.
The rebel leader was booked under UPA Act, section 121, 124 of IPC. However, he was freed in UPA act earlier and section 124 of IPC, Patnaik added.
Panda is also allegedly involved in the murder of VHP leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and abduction of Italian nationals.