HC asks Odisha to file counter affidavit on CBI probe plea into 2008 VHP leader’s murder

 The Orissa High Court on Tuesday directed the state government to file a counter affidavit by March 5 on a petition seeking a CBI inquiry into the killing of a Viswa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader and four of his disciples in 2008.

Advocate Debasish Hota had filed the petition, stating that although the crime branch of Odisha Police probed the murder case, it failed to establish the exact motive behind the crime.

Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and his followers were killed by at least 15 masked people in Jalaspeta Ashram in Kandhamal district.

After the preliminary arguments, the single-judge bench of Justice Chittaranjan Dash issued a notice to the state government to file the counter affidavit, and fixed March 5 as the next date of hearing.

The murder of the seer had led to large-scale communal violence in Kandhamal and some other parts of the state, causing the death of around 40 people, besides the destruction of hundreds of houses.

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