The Central Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday told the trial court in the murder case of Australian missionary Graham Stuart Staines and his two minor sons that the prime accused in the case, Dara Singh, and his associates, had hatched a conspiracy to eliminate the trio.
Staines and his two children were killed in a well-planned manner, the CBI counsel, S K Mund, contended during arguments, which began on Wednesday in the court of the district and sessions judge, Khurda, M N Patnaik.
The CBI counsel said that the prosecution had examined 55 witnesses in the case of whom 10 were eyewitnesses to the incident.
Quoting from their deposition, Mund said that prosecution witnesses Bidyadhar Mahanta had said in the court that Dara and his associate Rajat Kumar Das alias Dipu had met him twice in 1998 and told him that the Christian priests had to be 'taught a lesson' as they were converting Hindus into Christianity.
Dara and Dipu had told Purna Mahanta on January 20, 1999, two days before the crime, that the Christian priests had come to Manoharpur to convert Hindus and asked him to arrange people to attack the missionaries. They repeated the same before another prosecution witness Kaibalya Biswal on January 21, 1999.
Dara hatched the final plan in the wheatfield of one Srikanta Purty, the CBI counsel said. He had told the assembled group of people as to how the killing had to be executed. Dara split them into three groups before the crime was committed, Mund submitted.