Thursday, January 21, 2010

Low-profile Maoist wife was the backroom boss

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    • Debabrata Mohanty
    • Bhubaneswar
    • Unlike her husband, Sabyasachi Panda, who is connected to almost all major Maoist violence in the state in the last six-seven years, Saswati alias Mili alias Seema alias Subhasree Das hardly blipped on the police radar. Sabyasachi, the secretary of CPI(Maoist) Orissa State Committee, is believed to have masterminded the 2007 attack on police establishments in Nayagarh and the murder of VHP leader Laxmanananda Saraswati in 2008. On the other hand, Subhasree, arrested by the police on January 14 from the outskirts of Bhubaneswar under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and described as a “big catch”, was the proverbial backroom person, tying up loose ends in the organisation.


      “She was a coordinator. While Sabyasachi Panda planned and executed attacks, Subhasree was in-charge of transferring Maoist leaders from one base to another, arranging food and other items for the operation. She headed the media and publicity wing and supervised both the printing of Maoist literature and the town committees. She also handled the bank accounts, determined how many rebels could be accommodated in a single camp and decided on dry rations for each camps. She might not have taken part in operations, but her role was as vital as any Maoist commander,” said a police source.

    • The police have learnt that during the last four years, Panda visited Bhubaneswar quite often to meet Subhasree. “He gave her Rs 1 lakh per month to run the household,” said one of the policemen who are currently interrogating Subhasree.


      The couple have a 12-year-old daughter who, since Subhasree’s arrest, has been sent to live with her maternal grandfather, a BJD leader. Subhasree’s mother Jyotsna too is a local BJD leader, while her father-in-law was the president of the Nayagarh district of the BJD till his death in 2003.

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