Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Dec 25:
Nearly a month after a sand laden Haiwa mowed down three persons, including a woman, and injured 20 others at Khandagiri Square, the commissionerate police is nowhere near apprehending the killer driver or initiating action against the owner of the vehicle, which was found to be sporting a fake number plate.
“We shall catch the culprits soon,” Twin City commissioner RP Sharma had promised after it came to light that even the ownership document of the killer vehicle was forged. But ‘soon’ obviously has an altogether different connotation in the commissionerate police parlance.
Asked about the progress of the investigation into the case, Khandagiri IIC Sanjib Satpathy came up with the astounding excuse that that the officer in charge of the investigation was ‘on escort duty’, without bothering to explain why the IO in such an important case was deputed on escort duty in the first place.
“One reason behind the slow pace of investigation by the police is the lack of adequate manpower in the police station,” said a senior police officer on the condition of anonymity, pointing out that Khandagiri police station has just three SIs and three ASIs. But this explanation is difficult to swallow since the police do act with alacrity in certain cases.
“It took the police just 10 days to arrest the culprits to arrest the accused in the Palaspalli loot case on November 30. They even recovered the major part of the Rs 40 lakh looted. But in this case, they have not shown any such alacrity in arresting the guilty. Clearly, money talks,” says Debashis Padhi, a resident of Khandagiri area who narrowly escaped being mowed down by the killer Haiwa on that fateful evening.
Padhi cannot fathom why it has taken so long for the police to apprehend the culprits despite the fact they have seized all the relevant documents, including the absconding driver’s license.
The apathy of the administration has not stopped at the lackadaisical investigation. More than three weeks after the accident, the families of the deceased are still to get the ex-gratia announced by the state government. This is in sharp contrast to politically sensitive cases in which the cheques are readied even before the victim breathes his/her last.
Monalisa Samal, who was to marry just a fortnight later, died on the spot while Biswanath Sasmal and Nizam Khan succumbed to their injuries at the Capital hospital after the Haiwa rammed into them at the busy Khandagiri Square here on December 1.