"The so-called arrest of Sabyasachi seems to have been a stage managed drama. He was already with the police before the date on which the arrest was claimed to have been made," BJP's Odisha unit President K V Singhdeo told reporters here.
As reported in the media, Panda was definitely not caught on the date as police claimed. The recent drama was an attempt to divert people's attention from burning issues like scams which had put the government in a tight corner in the Assembly, he said.
Expressing doubt about a fair probe by the state police into cases involving Sabyasachi, Singhdeo said Odisha police would not be unable to take the investigation to its logical end as reports suggested that several ruling party leaders maintained links with the Maoists.
Under the circumstances, the state police would not be competent to conduct proper probe and it would only try to shield political leaders, the BJP leader said.
"The police is not in favour of Panda's interrogation in the presence of his lawyer or family members, as directed by the court, as it is feared that they might spill the beans about nexus between Maoists and political leaders," he said.
BJP: Drama was an attempt to divert people's attention from burning issues
"Therefore, investigation into the entire gamut of affairs relating to Sabyasachi and his activities should be handed over to a central agency," Singhdeo said. He said probe by a central agency like National Investigation Agency (NIA) would be proper, but NIA generally inquired into cross-border matters and incidents spread over several states.
While there seemed to be no case against Sabyasachi outside Odisha, abduction of Italian nationals and killing of VHP leader Laxamananada Saraswati in Kandhamal had wide ramifications. These events had drawn international attention and it was a fit case to be investigated by a national agency, the senior BJP leader said.
As builders and contractors also have links with Maoists as the ultras were funded by them and this aspect should also be probed thoroughly, Singhdeo claimed. "We'll write to the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on behalf of the state BJP urging him to consider getting the matter inquired by a central agency," Singhdeo said.
On Panda's arrest, the state BJP chief said leaders of the banned CPI (Maoist) had also described the episode as nothing but a drama.
Singhdeo said that many such incidents, including abductions of a senior IAS officer and Italian nationals, in the past had taken place when the Assembly was in session. These were part of a tactic to divert people's attention from core issues, he claimed.