Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Niali (Cuttack), Feb 1:
Seeking information about the money and fertilizer utilized in the plantation of paddy saplings has cost the life of a farmer whose body was found buried under a bridge near a village in Odisha’s Cuttack district on Saturday morning.
Following the incident, irate Congress workers staged a road blockade by keeping the body of the deceased farmer on the road till late night demanding a thorough investigation into the incident and immediate arrest of the accused.
The agitators later withdrew the blockade after the district administration assured them to fulfill their demands.
Sources said Krupasindhu Sahu (40), a farmer of Nachhigan village of Krushnaprasad Panchayat under Niali police station in Cuttack district, had sought information from the district agriculture officer (DEO) about the details of amount of money and fertilizer utilized in the plantation of paddy saplings through Right to Information (RTI) Act.
Soon after this, he received threatening calls from some of the villagers over his phone which he later informed his family members.
On January 26, Sahu had gone to a nearby market in the evening in his bike. But as he did not return to his house till late night, his family members tried to contact him through his mobile phone which was switched off.
The villagers found Sahu’s bike near the Mahavir temple in the morning on January 28 and informed the family members.
As the family members failed to know his whereabouts after a frantic search, the wife of the deceased later lodged a complaint with the Niali police.
In the complaint, she said she had received a call from an unknown person at about 8 AM on January 30 who told her that he would return the mobile phone and the bike key of Sahu in exchange of money. She also said she had again received the call from the same person who demanded the same but did not reveal anything about her husband.
Acting on the complaint, the police on Saturday tracked the mobile phone number and reached the house of Kartika Pani at Krushna Prasad village.
But the police did not find Kartika and his mother, Saila, at the house. Later, acting on a tip-off, police raided Amareswar Sasan village and detained Saila and Kartika’s sister Manju. Basing on the statements of the duo during interrogation, police later went to Karanga Kulapitapada village and brought Dilip Jena, nephew of Kartika, to the police station. Later, acting on his information, police took him to the Taanla river bridge near Satanga village the recovered Sahu’s body which was buried under a banyan tree near the bridge.
Preliminary investigation revealed that the accused, after strangulating Sahu on January 26, had buried the body under the tree.
As soon as the news spread, tension ran high in the area as irate Congress workers and villagers went to Cuttack and brought Sahu’s body which was sent by the police for post mortem.
Later, they staged a road blockade in front of Niali police station on Phulanakhara-Charichhak road at about 4 PM disrupting vehicular traffic.
Following information, a team of senior district officials including Cuttack Rural SP and sub collector rushed to the spot and assured the agitators for immediate arrest of the accused, action against the concerned officials for dereliction of duty in providing information as per RTI Act, investigation into the plantation of paddy sapling and action against the police officials for their faulty investigation into the incident.
The agitators later withdrew the road blockade.
Talking to OST, IIC of Niali police station Satyabrata Lenka said the accused would be nabbed very soon.
“Police have arrested Saila, Manju and Dilip in this connection and efforts are on to nab the prime accused Kartika Pani who has absconded after the incident, said Nrusingha Swain, SDPO”, Cuttack Sadar.
The three arrested accused were forwarded to court today.
Meanwhile, the state government today relieved the IIC of Niali police station from the investigation and handed over the charge to the Cuttack Sadar SDPO.