Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik announced Panda’s arrest in the state assembly. Panda was nabbed from Berhampur city area in Ganjam district during a combing operation.
Anti-Maoist experts however said Panda’s arrest will not make any difference as he had already become powerless over the two years.
Sabyasachi Panda was the state’s most powerful Maoist leader and was alleged to be involved in Nayagarh arms loot, VHP leader Laxmananda Saraswati’s murder and abduction of two Italian tourists. However, since the last two years his influence had declined considerably after he parted ways with the Communist Party of India (Maoist) led by Ganapathi. He had floated his own outfit Odisha Maoist Party but the group kept depleting due to arrest of cadres from time to time.
Without ammunition and cadre strength, Sabyasachi Panda had been confined to some parts of Ganjam and Kandhamal. He faced threat not only from police but also CPI ( Maoist). There were no reports of his involvement in any violence in the last two years.