Phulbani, Dec 27:
Four days after the death of alleged Maoist Pratap Pradhan in police custody, no answers are forthcoming from either the police or the administration to a host of questions about the exact circumstances under which he died.
While the police have claimed that Pratap was suddenly taken ill while being brought to Phulbani from the place where he was caught, they have been completely silent about the bruise marks on his body that were clearly visible on his body.
The police have also said that Pratap was overpowered while he was extorting money. But it is a mystery how a man who was fit enough to extort money suddenly fell so seriously ill immediately after he was taken into police custody that he died within hours.
Another question that begs an answer is why was the shirt missing on Pratap’s body when he was brought to the district hospital and why was he wrapped with a door curtain.
The police have claimed that a dairy recovered from Pratap led them to Indragarh where they located a Maoist camp after a 20-minute encounter and recovered a huge cache of arms and ammunition. But surprisingly, they are tight lipped about the contents of this all important diary.
The police have claimed that the letter allegedly sent by the slain ‘Maoist’ to extort money from the RKD company was signed by Nikhil, Sunil and Krishna. This has raised eyebrows since Nikhil and Sunil (Sabyasachi Panda) have been on the opposite side of the fence ever since the latter fell out with the CPI (Maoist) and formed his own outfit.
All these unanswered questions suggest that there is more to the death of Pratap Pradhan than meets the eye. Given the sequence of events, Odisha Maobadi Party leader Sabyasachi Panda’s allegation, made through an audio tape released to the media on Thursday, that the Indragarh ‘encounter’ was a charade to cover the death of Pratap in police custody, can not be dismissed in a hurry.