Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Jun 19:
Singer-cum-music director Rajendra Barik, the main accused in the murder of a city-based contractor on the run since the incident on Thursday, was a blue-eyed boy till the gruesome killing on the outskirts of the Odisha capital. However, the high and mighty across political circles and the entertainment industry, who once stood behind him like a rock have now disowned the fugitive vocalist.
Till recently, the on-stage performer was rubbing shoulders with the who’s who of the society. But now he has fallen from grace after the murder of the contractor yesterday morning.
The prime accused has been seen in the past sharing the dais with prominent politicians across the political spectrum and big names of the music and entertainment industry. However, the biggies have now disowned the singer who has suddenly become persona non-grata.
The artist was clicked with Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) President Prasad Harichandan, Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation Mayor Anant Narayan Jena, senior Congress leader Suresh Routray and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) legislator Priyadarshi Mishra among others, in various socio-cultural platforms.
“We meet various people in public life. I had met him as a singer about 10 years ago. I know him as an artist, who was good at singing Nimai Harichandan songs,” Prasad Harichandan said.
When contacted, BMC Mayor Ananta Narayan Jena and BJD MLA Priyadarshi Mishra expressed similar views.
“We are shell-shocked to know about Rajendra’s alleged involvement in the murder. The music industry is in a state of disbelief as he was a very helping and compassionate person,” a singer said on condition of anonymity.
While the Commissionerate police have formed a special team to nab Barik and are raiding his possible hideouts, the singer is still out of the clutches of the cops.
“We have formed a special team which is assisting the Khandagiri police probing the murder case. We had detained two accomplices of Rajendra yesterday for interrogation and an FIR has been registered against as many as 24 persons, excluding the detainees,” Twin City Police Commissioner Dr Rajendra Prasad Sharma told OST today.
Meanwhile, police are investigating whether the singer had possessed a licensed arm or had procured an illegal weapon to execute the murder.
The recent spurt in firing cases has pointed towards the increasing gun culture in the capital city. Less than a week ago, an illegal country-made gun factory was unearthed at Begunia in Khordha district.
Besides, firearms were seized from a dacoity gang, which had three students from city-based technical colleges.
It may be recalled that police is on the lookout for Rajendra and his associates for gunning down Dillip Nayak (38) of Bhoi Sahi in Patrapada in what is said to be a fallout of rivalry arising out of construction of a housing project behind AIIMS Hospital in the city.