Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jun 19:
Commissionerate Police may have managed to arrest Saila Ranasingh, who has earned the sobriquet of the Lady Don of Haldipadia slum in the Odisha capital, after 11 days of cat and mouse chase. But that has clearly not mellowed her one bit as she was seen threatening SI Hansdah, whom she had attacked in the slum earlier, inside the Laxmisagar police station itself on Thursday.
“No one can do anything to me. Let me get out of the jail and I will see you,” she was heard threatening Sub-Inspector Hansdah inside his own office. Not a man to take the sledge, Hansdah retaliated sarcastically, “First get out of jail. We will see.”
Saila didn’t even spare the media personnel present either threatening them of dire consequences after she gets bail. While many in the slum, where she was the de facto government and judge, are happy after her arrest, they are insecure about being her target if she gets a bail.
Police commissioner Rajendra Sharma, however, had a word of assurance.
“If she attempts to create violence after getting bail from the court, we will book her again under section 110 that will ensure that she doesn’t get bail easily,” said Sharma.
The police had no choice but to send her to the court under increased police protection. On the other hand, there were more than 100 spectators in the court premises to get a glimpse of the Lady Don.
Her arrest has brought good news for Laxmisagar Police Station Inspector Rajat Ray, who has now been allowed to go on the leave that had already been sanctioned, but had to be kept in abeyance after the June 8 incident at the Haldipadia basti. He was reportedly asked to arrest her before going on a leave.
The arrest was made possible by Laxmisagar ACP Akshay Mishra, who was earlier an Inspector in Soro Police Station, the place where Saila and her family was hiding posing as a melody band member.
According to the sequence of events since the fateful day reconstructed by the police on the basis of infromation extracted from here and her other family members and relatives, Saila and her family had left for a relative’s house in Aiginia in Bhubaneswar immediately after the attack in the slum. After an overnight stay there, she left for another relative’s house in Cuttack’s CDA area, where the cops raided a few hours after she left. After a day’s stay there, she moved on a bus to Balasore’s Soro where one of her contacts had rented a house for her.
The police, in the meanwhile, had been tracking their phone. Police traced their location to Bahanaga area under Soro after Saila’s son Tutu turned on his cell phone on June 11 for the first time three days after the attack on police. ACP Mishra asked one of his former informers to check out if there were any new guests or tenants in the area.
The informer soon figured out Saila, her son, son-in-law and two daughters (one minor) have been living in the area under the guise of melody artists from Puri and tipped off the ACP.
Acting on the tip-off, a team from Commissionerate Police raided the place and arrested them. The villagers, whom Saila’s family went out of their way to impress, also turned their back. In fact, they were seen pushing bamboo sticks inside the house to push them out of the house. Cops arrested her son and son-in-law while they attempted to jump off the roof and run away.
As per locals, the family had changed their style of dressing to go undetected. While the males had cut their hair very short, the ladies used to comb their in a pattern different from the regular to remain incongnito. In order to impress the neighbours, they also used to invite them to visit their non-existent house in Puri’s Balisahi and to the temple of Lord Jagannath to have Abadha with them. Many others claimed to have been invited to their dinner.
The door of the house, however, always remained closed during daytime. Saila, along with her son, always used to go out in the morning to some unknown destination only to return in the evening.