Patnagarh wedding gift blast: Odisha CB takes mastermind Punjilal on remand

Balangir: The Odisha Crime Branch today took Punjilal Meher, the mastermind in the Patnagarh wedding gift blast case, on remand for six days.

The agency had yesterday sought a 14-day remand of Punjilal from the court of SDJM, Patnagarh. The court has allowed the Crime Branch for a six-day remand of the accused. He has been charged under Sections 302 and 307 of IPC besides Explosive Offences Act.

Punjilal had masterminded, planned and executed the crime single-handedly. He operated very meticulously without leaving any clues behind. He made the bomb himself, carried it in the shape of a parcel and booked it at a courier company near Raipur railway station, Odisha DGP RP Sharma had said yesterday.

Later in the day, Crime Branch IG Arun Bothra at a press conference in Balangir said that Punjilal had gathered gunpowder during last year’s Diwali and prepared a crude bomb using it. For executing his plans, he went to Raipur by a train with the bomb wrapping it as a gift and couriered it, said Bothra.

Moreover, he didn’t purchase a ticket for his journey in a bid to eliminate the chance of getting caught on CCTV camera while buying ticket from counter, the police official said.

Revealing about the detection of the crime, Bothra said Punjilal had posted a letter to the Balangir SP as an anonymous sender with an intention of misleading the investigators in the investigation process. In the letter, Punjilal had mentioned that the bomb blast was a fallout of love affair.

During probe, the cops detected a deleted file from Punjilal’s pen drive. It came to fore that the file was that of the letter which Punjilal had typed in his laptop and later sent it to the SP after taking out a printout of the same from a nearby shop.

According to police sources, a dispute was prevailing between Punjilal, English lecturer of Jyoti Vikash Junior College at Bhainsa in Balangir district, and deceased Soumya Sekhar’s mother Sanjukta, principal of the college, over the post. Punjilal served as the principal of the college before being replaced by Sanjukta and was reluctant to hand over the charge to her.

In order to seek a “revenge” in this connection, Punjilal planned the whole episode, the police official said.

The investigators had seized a cache of crude explosives from the ancestral house of Punjilal at Rampur under Patnagarh NAC. Several employees of the college were also interrogated in connection with the incident.

Notably, Reema Rani’s husband Soumya Sekhar and his grandmother Jemamani were killed when a bomb wrapped as a wedding gift blasted while unwrapping the same on February 23, four days after the couple’s marriage.

Also read: Odisha wedding gift blast survivor Reema discharged from SCB hosp.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had ordered for a Crime Branch probe into the sensational incident. A special investigation team (SIT) of the Crime Branch was investigating into the matter.

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