Bhubaneswar: A court in Odisha on Tuesday convicted a Maoist for the murder of a Hindu leader and four of his aides in 2008, a lawyer said. Seven other accused were convicted in the case the day before.
Pulari Rama Rao alias Uday was held guilty by the special additional district sessions court at Phulbani, the headquarters of Kandhamal district, about 200 km from state capital Bhubaneswar, the lawyer said.
A pistol used in the killing was recovered from Rao, police said.
The court acquitted co-accused Somanatha Dandsena due to lack of evidence, the lawyer said.
The same court had on Monday convicted seven people for killing Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and his aides at Jaleshpata in Kandhamal district on August 23, 2008.
They are Duryodhan Suna Majhi, Munda Bada Majhi, Sanatan Bada Majhi, Garnatha Chalanseth, Bijay Kumar Samseth, Bhaskar Suna Majhi and Budhadev Nayak.
The quantum of punishment for all the eight convicts would be announced on Thursday.
Five accused, including Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda, are still absconding, police said.
The convicts said they committed the crime as, according to them, Saraswati was forcing Christians to convert to Hinduism, he said.
The killing of Saraswati and his aides triggered communal violence in the state, in which at least 38 people were killed.