`Orissa police was unaware of Maoist threat on Saraswati`

Last Updated: Monday, September 14, 2009 - 17:10

Bhubaneswar: The Orissa government and the
police were unaware that Swami Laxamananda Saraswati was on
the hit-list of Maoists who claimed to have killed the VHP
leader with his four associates on August 23 last year in
Kandhamal district.

This was stated by former director general of police
Gopal Chandra Nanda on Monday when cross-examined before the
judicial commission of Inquiry probing the killing of
Saraswati and large-scale violence thereafter.
"Since we did not have any input on Saraswati being the
target of Maoists, our security arrangement was not of that
order," Nanda stated before the Commission headed by justice SC Mohapatra.

Though security was provided to Saraswati, it was not
enough to counter a Maoist attack, he said.

Claiming that there was no negligence on part of the
state government or the police, Nanda said that the district
police did not anticipate that Maoists would attack Saraswati.

Saraswati`s killing on August 23, 2008 led to large-scale
violence in Kandhamal where about 40 people were killed and
over 4,000 houses destroyed besides churches and prayer

Rejecting the allegation of negligence, Nanda said the
police had made security arrangements keeping in view the
threat on Saraswati`s life from the people who were opposed to
his activities.

"I am certain that the Kandhamal police with available
resources and manpower took careful steps to tackle the riot,"
he said, adding that "it was not true" that the state
government had not taken any step to protect the lives of
minorities in the riot-hit district
Replying to a question, the former DGP under whose tenure
the riot took place, said that non-availability of adequate
CRPF jawans to tackle riots might be a `coincidence`.

Three Inspector Generals of Police, Arun Sarangi (Law and
Order), Arun Ray (Crime Branch) and IG (law and Order) Pradip
Kapoor submitted affidavits related to the case before the

DGP Manmohan Prahara, who had submitted his affidavit
before the Commission on Saturday, would be cross-examined on
October 6 as he was attending official meetings at Delhi,
Justice Mohapatra said.

"Former DGP GC Nanda`s statements has thrown light on
the Saraswati killing. This will help the Commission in
proceeding in its probe," he said.

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First Published: Monday, September 14, 2009 - 17:10

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