Bhubaneswar: The wife of Sabyasachi Panda, who has been expelled by Maoists, on Monday appealed to the Odisha government to withdraw cases against him and bring him back to the mainstream.

"He (Sabyasachi Panda) has not committed any crime during the past two years. I request the government to drop pending cases against him and provide him democratic space," Subhashree Das, alias Mili Panda, said, three days after he was expelled by the Maoists from their group.

Das said the government should form a committee to take a decision on her husband. The government can include top police officers in the committee, she told a local television channel.

Police said they were keeping a close watch on the development.

"We are keeping a close watch on the situation," state Director General of Police Prakash Mishra told reporters.

Panda, who carries an award of Rs.20 lakh on his head, is wanted in several criminal cases, including the kidnapping of Italians in March this year.

The group led by Panda is also accused of killing Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four others in the district of Kandhamal four years ago.

The killings had triggered widespread communal violence in which about 38 people were killed and thousands were forced to flee their homes. There are also large numbers of other cases against him.

The central committee of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist expelled Panda from the party accusing him of an "enemy-like opportunistic stand on the outfit as also the movement and leadership".

(Agencies)

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