Couple accused in Astaranga murders nabbed from Assam village

Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Oct 9:

In a major breakthrough, the Crime Branch has arrested a couple who had committed the brutal quadruple murder at Dinadiyan village under Astaranga block in Odisha’s Puri district. The couple, who were arrested from a village in Assam, were known to the slain family.

quadruple murder

“We have identified two accused persons in the case who are a couple. The husband is Himadri Sekhar Das alias Rahim Khan, who converted to Islam, after marrying Ayesha Begum. They are from Chhattisgarh and were staying in Raipur. Das is originally a native of West Midnapore in Bengal. Ayesha is a native of Champa near Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh,” said Crime Branch ADG B.K. Sharma while briefing mediapersons here today.

Narrating the sequence of events that led to the ghastly murders, Sharma said that the couple knew the victims through a relative and had visited them on a few occasions. They had taken note of the financial status of the slain family and had also observed that their house was located in a lonely place.

The couple turned up at the house on the fateful day and stayed there that night. The couple asked head of the family Dinabandhu Mallick for some money on loan. But he told them that he didn’t have the money. Later, they had food and went to bed.

In the dead of the night, however, the couple murdered Mallick. In the meantime, his wife woke up. The couple killed her too. Later, they also killed Mallick’s two minor daughters aged 10 and 4 years. They had come prepared with two large knives with which they murdered the entire family.

The couple then fled the scene with whatever they could lay their hands on, including gold ornaments and a motor cycle. After abandoning the bike at a certain place near Angul, they went to Raipur where they disposed off the gold ornaments and other valuables and left for Bhopal.

After returning from Bhopal, the accused couple went to Silchar via Kharagpur on train. Then, they went to Hailakhandi district in Assam on Indo-Bangladesh border and were hiding in a hamlet there, said Sharma.

“Using different tracking methods, we nabbed them from Hailakhandi and produced them before the local magistrate who allowed us to take them on transit remand. We brought them to Kolkata from Silchar and then to Bhubaneswar by flight. They are now in our custody and we are interrogating them,” said Sharma.

“We have recovered the mobile phone that they had stolen from Mallick’s house and certain other incriminating material from them. We have the transit remand of the duo and will produce them before the magistrate here,” he added.

We will try to recover the weapons used in the crime, the stolen gold ornaments and other materials. Prima facie, it appears that the couple is accused in the quadruple murder. We will try to find out if any others were involved in the crime,” he further said.

Notably, Mallick (68), a retired District Inspector (DI) of Schools, his wife Kumodini (50) and their two kid daughters were killed in a gruesome manner with their throats slit on the night of September 21. Two days later, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had ordered a Crime Branch inquiry into the murders.

The Crime Branch has also interrogated Mallick’s nephew, brothers, daughter and son-in-law in connection with the murders.

After retirement, Mallick had opened a paan shop in his village. When the shop remained closed for the whole day next day, a villager went to his house to find out the reason and found all the four members of the family murdered. He found the body of the elder daughter on the top floor of their house while the bodies of the three other members were found in another room.

When police reached the place, villagers had not allowed them to take possession of the bodies and send them for post-mortem demanding a Crime Branch inquiry into the case. Hundreds of angry locals, including women, had ransacked the Tehsil office in Astaranga on September 28.

The mob had also locked up the Block and other government offices protesting against the tardy progress in the investigation by the Crime Branch. The locals had demanded for transfer of the investigation into the case to the CBI.

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