20 years after Staines murder, CBI nabs one in Odisha

20 years after Staines murder, CBI nabs one in Odisha

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Two decades after the ghastly killing of Australian missionary Graham Stuart Staines and his two minor sons in Odisha's Keonjhar district, CBI has arrested one of the accused persons in the triple murder case.

The CBI sleuths arrested Budhadeb Naik (45), a close associate of Dara Singh who was convicted in the case, from his house at Nischitapur village under Thakurmunda police station in Mayurbhanj district, the sub-divisional police officer of Karanjia, Narayan Chandra Nayak said.

Naik was allegedly among those who had set fire to the station wagon in which Australian Missionary Graham Stuart Staines and his two minor sons - Philip (10) and Timothy (7), were sleeping in front of a church at Manoharpur village in Keonjhar on the night of January 22, 1999.

The three were burnt to death in the incident, which rocked the country.

Naik was absconding since the incident and the CBI, acting on a tip-off raided his house and apprehended him, the SDPO said.

Dara Singh, the main accused in the triple murder, was convicted and sentenced to death by the CBI court in 2003. The Orissa High Court commuted the death sentence to life imprisonment in 2005, which was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2011.

Mehendra Hembram, another accomplice of Dara Singh, is also serving a life sentence in the case, while 11 other accused were acquitted by the High Court due to lack of evidence.

Staines and his wife Gladys worked in Mayurbhanj Evangelical Missionary organization at Baripada caring for leprosy patients.

Gladys Staines, who was awarded the Padmashree in 2005, had said that she had forgiven the killers of her husband and sons and that she holds no bitterness against them.