"Panda joined the Communist Party of India-Maoist in 2005. He was the head of the party's Odisha unit for several years."
Bhubaneswar, July 19 - A court in Odisha Saturday granted the police a 10-day remand of top Maoist Sabyasachi Panda, a day after his arrest, a defence lawyer said.

Police had sought Panda's custody for 14 days to interrogate him.

Sub-divisional judicial magistrate (SDJM) at Berhampur P.K. Behera, however, granted a 10-day remand, defence lawyer Deepak Patnaik said.

The judge also allowed the prayer of the defence lawyer to conduct Panda's interrogation in the presence of his family members, friends or his lawyer.

The court also allowed the family members to meet Panda in jail.

Panda, 46, wanted in more than 60 criminal cases, was arrested from Berhampur town, 179 km from here Friday.

Police said Panda was involved in high-profile crimes like the Nayagarh and Ramagiri Udayagiri armoury dacoities, killing Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, abduction of two Italian nationals and other cases that led to the killing of 25 security personnel and 34 civilians.

The state government had put a reward of Rs.5 lakh on his head.

Panda joined the Communist Party of India-Maoist in 2005. He was the head of the party's Odisha unit for several years.

Although he was expelled two years ago for alleged anti-party activities, he continued his rebel activities by forming his own group.


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