Phulbani, Dec 24:
The death of a youth here in police custody under mysterious circumstances has led to a flutter in the area.
While the police have claimed that Pratap Pradhan, who was in custody of the Sadar police here, died due to illness, the people in the area believe he was beaten to death in the police station.
When asked about the allegation, DIG (Southern Range) Amitav Thakur, who is presently camping in Kandhamal, said the police had information that some youths posing as Maoists were engaged in extortion on the Kalinga Ghats. A special squad of the police had nabbed Pratap from the spot at around 4 pm in the evening while his two accomplices managed to escape. Police had taken Pratap in its vehicle to the places where he had extorted money. But all of a sudden, Pratap fell ill and was admitted to the district headquarters hospital at around 8 pm in the night and died while undergoing treatment at the hospital.
Thakur said police was collecting more information about Pratap and the circumstances under which he died. “We shall be able to tell you more when the investigation is complete,” Thakur said.