In a major blow to the Orissa Police, a two-judge bench of Supreme Court on Friday ordered immediate release of Odisha Jan Morcha leader Sangram Mohanty, son of Maoist ideologue Dandapani Mohanty, from jail. In 2011, Dandapani had played the role of a key interlocutor in the release of former Malkangiri Collector R Vineel Krishna from the clutches of Maoists.
In response to a criminal writ petition filed by Sangram’s mother Gitanjali Mohanty seeking his release, a bench comprising Justices V Gopala Gowda and R Banumathi ordered the immediate release of Sangram while seeking a response from the chief secretary within four weeks. Reprimanding the government, the apex court even threatened to proceed with perjury for filing a false affidavit.
Sangram was arrested by the Orissa Police on December 5, 2012 near Gajapati’s Kamalapur village on charges of helping Maoists. He has been in jail ever since.
Police claimed to have seized two US-made automatic pistols, Maoist literature, ammunition, food materials, cellphone sets and around Rs 16,500 cash from him.
Sangram was accused of targeting police and civilians with landmines, tiffin bombs and helping Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda.
After Sangram’s mother moved for bail in the Supreme Court last year, the state government in September filed an affidavit that 15 cases were pending against him.
The SC granted bail in eight cases while the Orissa HC granted bail in the rest. By virtue of the bail granted, Sangram was set to be released from Berhampur Jail on January 27, but was rearrested for two pending cases from 2011.
In her petition Friday, Sangram’s mother alleged that her son is being victimised by the state and the police as he joined Odisha Jan Morcha headed by Naveen’s bête noire Pyari Mohan Mohapatra. Sangram’s father Dandapani, who was arrested in February 2013 over alleged Maoist links, is stil in judicial custody.