Bhubaneswar, Jan 29 (Agencies): A fast track court in Orissa released 18 people who were booked under rioting cases at Kandhamal district in 2008, a lawyer said on Saturday.

For setting Sramika Digal’ house on fire, 10 people were booked and the other eight people were booked for burning down John Nayak's house. Both the incidents took place at Pipudidei village on August 26.

Judge Sobhan Kumar Das gave the verdict on Friday for both the cases at the district headquarters of Phulbani, some 200 km from here, defence lawyer Ajit Patnaik said.

"He acquitted all the accused persons as the charges levelled against them could not be established," he said.

The tribal populated Kandhamal district had witnessed widespread communal violence after the murder of Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and his four aides at his ashram on August  23, 2008 allegedly by Maoists.