Brajarajnagar witnesses eight ‘high-profile’ murders in two decades

Jharsuguda: Including the recent killing of former Health Minister Naba Kishore Das by dismissed cop Gopal Krishna Das near Gandhi Chhak in Brajarajnagar on January 29, as many as eight ‘high-profile’ murders have taken place in this town of Jharsuguda district during the last two decades.

With the Odisha Crime Branch probe team yet to crack the murder mystery of the influential leader Das, the civic area has become a ‘paradise’ for hardcore criminals. Illegal coal trading, tender fixing and political rivalry are the major causes behind such killings that occurred in the past days.

According to sources, a scuffle had ensued between two rival factions on April 9, 1999 in Brajarajnagar pertaining to the bidding of tender for a coal mine. One of the factions gun-attacked and killed the erstwhile Congress party town unit president Bulu Das following the brawl. However, another local political leader named Kanta Das, who was also present on the spot, had a close shave in the incident.

Nearly four years later on May 3, 2003, former Congress district unit president and coal trader Samu Kedia was killed in a gun attack. Jharsuguda police then arrested Kanta Das in this connection. Two unidentified miscreants hurled bombs at Kanta Das in front of a court in Brajarajnagar town, when the accused was being forwarded to the local court leading to the death of the latter on the spot.

Interestingly, police encountered the bombers within a very short span of time the same day, thereby bringing the probe to an end. Subsequently, it was demanded to reopen the case, but to no avail.

Similarly, on the intervening night of August 15, 2008, a local coal trader named Swarup Kumar Das was gunned down at Mandalia locality of Brajarajnagar. A police team had arrested the accused gangster Bikram Mallick and his aide Sushil Behera in this connection. In less than two years, another high-profile coal trader Arjun Singh was shot dead by miscreants at Tunnel Road in the town on June 24, 2010.

Likewise, Amit Dhal was killed in a gun attack near Brajarajnagar bus stand on June 4, 2019. With a strong motive to take revenge for the Amit Dhal murder, a hardcore criminal Sonu Ghosh’s brother and key accused Mantu was killed near Brajarajnagar railway station on November 5, the same year.

Notably, mystery still shrouds at least three of the eight high-profile murders in Brajarajnagar of Jharsuguda. During the same period, more than 10 killings also took place in the district over business enmity and gang war.

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