Panda, who is the prime accused in the killing of VHP leader Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati and his four associates, had claimed to have committed the crime on the night of August 23, 2008.
“Panda, through statements and video tapes, claimed to have committed the murder of Saraswati,” SLSS Secretary Laxmikant Dash said in a statement.
Saraswati’s killing led to large scale violence in Kandhamal and other parts of Odisha. At least 38 persons were killed, several injured and thousands of houses were torched besides damage of scores of churches during the riot.
Stating that Panda’s interrogation could reveal the name of conspirators behind the killing of the VHP leader, Dash said the police should not adopt a soft attitude towards the Maoist who allegedly killed 25 security personnel and 34 civilians.
“We are optimistic that the real conspiracy behind the killing of Saraswari will come out if the police interrogates Panda properly,” Dash said adding the Maoist leader should be given the death penalty for his alleged involvement in a series of heinous crimes.
SLSS also accused Panda of extortion and a stumbling block for the developmental activities in the tribal dominated districts of Odisha.