Orissa HC issues notice to state govt on CBI probe demand into murder of VHP leader

Cuttack, Jan 2 (UNI) The Orissa High Court has issued a notice to the Odisha Government on a petition filed by an advocate demanding a CBI probe into the murder of prominent VHP leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati.

Advocate Debashis Hota who moved the court in his petition prayed that the court should direct the CBI to conduct an inquiry within a stipulated time and find out the real culprits behind the brutal murder of Swami Laxmananda Saraswati.

The VHP leader and four of his disciples were gunned down at Jalespeta Ashram in Odisha’s Kandhamal district on August 23, 2008.

Justice Chitta Ranjan Das who heard the petition on Tuesday directed the Odisha government to submit a response by March 5 as to why a CBI probe will not be ordered into the case,the petitioner said.

Hota said in the interest of justice, equity and fair play this serious matter should be handed over to an independent agency like CBI to cause an inquiry on the pre planned murder of Swami Laxmananda Saraswati.

The petitioner further stated that the murder of Swami Laxmananda Saraswati is unsolved for the last 15 years and alleged that the investigating agency of Odisha Crime Branch which probed into the murder is not taking any interest to find out the real culprits.

He further stated that the day of murder, the personal security staff provided to Swami Laxmananda Saraswati by the Odisha Police went on leave without any substitute.

Prior to that, the armed CRPF security deployed at the Ashram of the Swamiji was withdrawn.

On the night of August 23, 2008, about 15 young masked men armed with AK 47 rifles and other weapons entered the Ashram and murdered Swami Laxmananda Saraswati along with his four disciples.

He said the Swamiji was working against the illegal and fraudulent conversion of innocent and simple minded people by the Christians through force, inducements and fraudulent means.

The Swami ji ,the petitioner said, was also strongly opposing the cow slaughter, supporting the Orissa Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act 1960.

Although the Odisha government had ordered a Crime Branch probe into the incident, it failed to unravel the mystery behind the murder, Hota alleged.

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