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Justice Mohanty vs Goutam Sahu: is the Odisha govt only for VIPs?

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jun 2:

Within two days of the daring dacoity at the house of retired High Court judge Justice Pradyumna Kumar Mohanty at Cuttack in the wee hours on Saturday, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday took the top police brass to task and directed them to crack the case on priority basis.

Burgled house of Justice PK MohantyThe incident has, ostensibly, baffled the chief minister as he even directed the DGP Sanjeev Marik and Police Commissioner Dr RP Sharma to heighten patrolling and install surveillance equipment in the CDA locality.

The prompt action by the chief minister has raised questions on preferential treatment to high and mighty as in the case of Justice Mohanty.

Interestingly, one Goutam Sahu living in a rented accommodation at Plot No: 1D-196, CDA Sector 11 in Cuttack was also robbed recently. Sahu’s house is hardly a few metres away from Mohanty’s residence.

Now the question arises, did the police personnel sweat it out the entire day and show enough zeal to probe Sahu’s case, as they did in Mohanty’s case? Was the chief minister apprised of Sahu’s case too while they were being chided by the former at the state secretariat?

If sources are to be believed, neither the chief minister has any idea about this nor the two top police personnel have made him aware of the happenings.

Close to two weeks ago, the Chief Minister had sought self-appraisal from all his ministers on the eve of completion of one year of his fourth term as chief minister. Note-sheets bearing the signature of the chief minister were sent to all ministers and the ministers were asked to furnish report within two days.

Two dacoity incidents in the same locality at around same time reflect the efficiency of the Home Department which is headed by chief minister himself. The varying yardstick for different sections of society raises questions on its intent over its selective approach.

As per the White Paper of the state Home Department presented in the Assembly in March this year, there was spurt in criminal cases in the state in 2014. However, the government described the law and order situation in the state as “by and large peaceful in 2014”.

The state recorded a total of 554 dacoity incidents where people were robbed off Rs 12.91 crore. Besides, 1,828 loot cases were reported in which the miscreants decamped with Rs 13.35 crore.  In addition to this, 9,410 theft cases have been registered in 2014 in which the offenders ran away with valuables worth Rs 74.73 crore.

There were dacoities of around Rs 102 crore of which the police department had recovered only Rs 29 crore of the plunder.

Investigation into only 4 per cent of the dacoity cases was completed and the remaining 96 per cent cases remained unsolved.

Has the chief minister ever asked his top police personnel about the dismal show by the officers? The counter is anybody’s guess…

As per the breakup provided by the police department, it had recovered Rs 6.28 crore in dacoity cases, Rs 4.23 crore in loot cases and Rs 19 crore in theft cases totalling to Rs 29.52 crore.

Of the 554 dacoity cases, charge sheet has been filed in 24 cases after completion of the investigation. Similarly, 57 per cent loot cases were under investigation and the success rate in theft cases was only 37 per cent.

The dacoits had struck the retired legal luminary’s residence at Abhinav Bidanasi under Markat Nagar police station on early Saturday morning.

The armed dacoits broke into the house of Mohanty who is heading the Judicial Commission of Enquiry probing into the Pipili gang rape and murder incident of 2012. He, along with his family members, was tied and looted cash and jewellery worth over Rs 50 lakh at gunpoint.