‘Police didn’t know Saraswati was under Maoist threat’


Bhubaneswar : The former Orissa police chief Monday deposed before a commission that though the state police was aware that Swami Laxmananda Saraswati, who was killed last year, was under threat from some quarter, they did not know the threat was from Maoist rebels.

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Deposing before the Justice S.C. Mohapatra Commission probing Saraswati’s death and subsequent violence in Kandhamal district, former DG Gopal Nanda said police had information that Saraswati was under threat from some quarter, but were not sure if it was a Maoist threat.

“We had information that Saraswati was under threat from some quarter. But we did not have information that he was on the target of Maoists, so the security provided wasn’t of the scale to counter such an attack,” said Nanda.

Nanda, however, claimed that there was no negligence on the part of the state police.

Nanda also said that the state police tried its best to provide protection to the people of minority communities.

The present director general of police will be cross examined Oct 6.

Three other senior officials – former Kandhamal district collector Gangadhar Singh, Inspector General of Police Arun Sarangi (Law and Order), Arun Ray (Crime Branch) and Pradip Kapoor (Law and Order) would be cross examined Tuesday.

“The former director general has been cross examined. During the cross examination he has said something which will certainly throw light why Saraswati was killed,” Mohapatra said.

Kandhamal district, about 200 km from here, witnessed widespread violence after the murder of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides at his ashram Aug 23 last year.

More than 25,000 Christians were forced to flee their homes after their houses were attacked by rampaging mobs, who held Christians responsible for Saraswati’s killing although police blamed the Maoists.