Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Patana (Keonjhar), Feb 24:
The tragic death of Ghatagan IIC Dilip Sahu, who was killed in an attack by a gang of dacoits at Saharpada village on Saturday afternoon, has raised several questions on the way the top police brass functions in the state.
Neither any official of the district police nor anybody from the state Home department have bothered to answer the vital question on whether special provisions were made to provide the necessary protection to the IIC before sending him alone. Nor is any answer forthcoming on whether the nearby police stations were alerted about the operations.
While the deceased IIC sustained bullet injuries on his thigh, the exact cause of his death is still shrouded in mystery.
It may be mentioned that an inter-state dacoit gang from Jharkhand area have been successfully operating in Bamebari, Barbil, Joda, Champua, Patana and Ghatagan of Keonjhar district and Karanjia block area of Mayurbhanj district along the Keonjhar-Mayurbhanj border. The gang usually targets local traders and moneylenders.
The Keonjhar police have failed in their attempts to nab the gang as it has managed to slip inside the Jharkhand border every time.
As per available information, the district police had prepared a blueprint to nab the gang after being tipped off about the gang planning to loot Manoj Das, a shoe trader of Karanjia, who comes to the weekly haat at Dhenkikot and collects dues from the retailers from Patana and Saharpada markets before leaving for Karanjia in the evening.
The district police authorities had entrusted the operation to IIC Dilip Sahu, who had joined the Ghatagan police station a week ago. However, they had not taken adequate precautionary measures for the operation. There were no adequate forces and ammunitions and no police van during the operation.
Talking to OST, the shoe trader and his nephew Chhatis Das said the IIC told them he would accompany them in the Tata Magic van as the dacoit gang was planning to loot them on the way to Karanjia.
On the way, Manoj collected the pending amount from a local trader at Patana. However, he was reluctant to proceed to Saharpada since it was evening. However, with the assurance of the IIC, he proceeded to Saharpada.
According to Manoj, at Khajuridiha, the IIC had a conversation with a senior woman police official who ideintified herself as the SP of Keonjhar.
The incident took place at about 7 pm when two dacoits, following the Tata Magic van in a black Pulsar bike, opened fire after overtaking the vehicle near Palasia bridge which narrowly missed Manoj and hit the thigh of the IIC. Another bullet hit the leg of Chhatis.
Terrified by the firing, Manoj lost control of the vehicle, which fell inside a roadside ditch.
While Manoj requested the IIC to open fire, the latter was no position to reach out for his revolver as he was while lying in a pool of blood fighting for his life.
In the meantime, Manoj shouted to shoot the two dacoits while his nephew overpowered one of them. But the dacoit, during the scuffle, fled the area with his associate while leaving his jacket.
After a while, a team of police officials arrived at the spot and rushed the injured IIC to Karanjia hospital. However, the IIC died on the way.
The police later shifted Chhatis to SCB Medical College and Hospital at Cuttack for treatment.