Refuting police claims about his escape during an encounter on 14th November, which was reported in a section of the press, Panda said neither he nor any of his aides were injured in the incident. Talking about the police allegation against his party regarding extortion of money from liquor mafias, local leaders and contractors, Panda said: “If the police proves, I would quit politics and revolution.”
He accused the police of arresting two other people - Arjuna Suna Majhi and Samsom Mallick, who he said have not been produced before any court yet. Dandapani Mohanty, who had mediated during abduction of Malkangiri collector and two Ittalian tourists has also demanded to stop combing operation.
Mr. Mohanty also appealed to the Human Rights activists and Gandhians to immediately visit the spot where an encounter took place in the Baliguda forest on November 14th for an impartial inquiry. Mr. Mohanty alleged that the five persons killed in the name of Maoists had no links with Maoists. He also demanded payment of Rs 10 lakhs to the family members of each of the deceased.
Meanwhile, police have intensified a massive search operation and sealed the borders of Ganjam, Gajapati and Kondhamal districts to nab Panda, who reportedly escaped with a small group of followers after the 14th November encounter.
Odisha DIG of Police, Prakash Mishra said after the encounter that police have launched a massive search operation to capture Panda and his group. The search operation would continue till the leader was nabbed. Nearly 300 armed jawans belonging to CRPF and special operation group have been engaged in the search operation.