Odisha: Cameraman Manas Swain’s murder case handed over to Crime Branch

Crime Odisha

Bhubaneswar, March 23: The kidnapping and murder case of 28-year-old web channel cameraman Manas Ranjan Swain was on Wednesday handed over to the Crime Branch (CB) of Odisha Police in view of the ‘gravity’ of the matter.

“DGP, Odisha has ordered for taking up of investigation of Chandbali PS Case No. 63 dated 14.02.2022 of Bhadrak District by CID-Crime Branch in view of its gravity and involvement of multiple districts,” Odisha Police tweeted.

“A five member probing team led by Dy.SP Kalpana Sahu is proceeding to Bhadrak Dist. to take up the investigation. Another four member team will assist in arrest of the main accused,” State Crime Branch tweeted.

The development comes a day after the deceased’s wife Yamuna accused two State Ministers – Law Minister Pratap Jena and MoS (Home) Dibya Shankar Mishra of being involved in the crime. Also, former Odisha Information Service (OIS) officer Niranjan Sethi has been arrested in connection with the case.

Sethy (60) allegedly conspired with Sarmistha Rout, the editor of the web channel in Bhubaneswar, to kill Swain.

Police said Swain used to work for her portal and was reportedly in possession of some controversial videos and photos, which could have landed Sharmistha in trouble.

Sharmistha, who is suspected to be the mastermind behind the murder, remains at large.

Swain was allegedly kidnapped from Bhadrak on February 7. He had gone there to film a wedding function. When he didn’t return even days after the event and could not be contacted and traced, his family members lodged a complaint with Chandbali police on February 14.

As per police, Swain was brought to Dayal Ashram, an old age home, run by the prime accused in Bhubaneswar, where he was assaulted physically. Later, on March 12, the body of Swain was recovered from Badhipatna hills in Rajsunakhala area of Nayagarh.

“One team will look for Sharmishta Rout, owner of the web channel where Swain worked, while another will look into other aspects of the case. It is suspected that Rout has fled to some other State,” Additional DG, CID-CB, Sanjeev Panda told reporters here.

Chandbali Police has arrested five people, including prime accused Sharmistha Rout’s brother Parameswar. He was nabbed in Vijayawada in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and brought back to Odisha. He is suspected to have helped Sharmistha in escaping the police’s net after the murder.

Deceased’s wife Yamuna had on Tuesday alleged that Sharmistha was desperate in getting hold of a video chip from Swain that allegedly contained “illegal acts” of ministers. She threatened to kill herself before the residence of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik if the accused were not nabbed.

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