Jeypore/Paralakhemundi: Maoist sympathiser Gananath Patra was on Thursday acquitted by a court in a case relating to atrocities on scheduled caste people, even as another court rejected the bail plea of woman Naxal leader Arati Majhi.
The development is significant because Maoists had set their release as one of their several demands in return for the release of abducted Italian national Paolo Bosusco and MLA Jhina Hikaka.
Jeypoer Additional Session Judge KC Rath acquitted Patra, advisor of Maoist-backed Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha, in a case relating to atrocities on scheduled caste people in Semiliguda area in September 2009 as the prosecution failed to establish the charges.
Two more cases are now pending against Patra, who had been acquitted in an abduction case last month.
However, the bail application of Arati Majhi was rejected by the Paralakhemundi district judge BN Mishra in a case relating to torching of buses in Adaba area of Gajapati district in December 2009.
There are six other cases against Majhi, whose release Odisha government has agreed to facilitate freedom of the Italian hostage.