Prime accused nabbed in Odisha RTI activist murder

Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Niali (Cuttack), Mar 13:

A month and half afterthe murder of Krupasindhu Sahu (40), a farmer and RTI activist of Nachhigan village of Krushnaprasad Panchayat under Niali police station in Cuttack district on January 26, Odisha Crime Branch police arrested the prime accused in the case on Thursday night.

Krupasindhu Sahu
Krupasindhu Sahu

BK Sharma, ADG, Crime Branch said the arrested accused, identified as Kartika Pani, would be forwarded to court later in the day. The Crime Branch would seek the permission of the court to take him on remand for further interrogation, he said.

Police had earlier arrested the mother, sister and nephew of Kartika.

“The accused had absconded after the murder of Sahu. Both the Crime Branch and Niali police had kept a close watch on his movements. After we got the information about his presence at Nachhigan, a joint team of Crime Branch and Niali police rushed to the village and arrested him,” the Crime Branch ADG informed.

It may be mentioned that Krupasindhu had sought information from the district agriculture officer (DEO) about the money and fertilizer utilized in the plantation of paddy saplings through Right to Information (RTI) Act.

Soon after this, he started receiving threats from some of the villagers over his phone and informed his family members about it.

On January 26, Sahu had gone to a nearby market in the evening on his bike. When he did not return to his house till late in the night, his family members tried to contact him through his mobile phone but found it switched off.

The villagers found Sahu’s bike near the Mahavir temple on the morning on January 28 and informed the family members.

Family members lodged a complaint with the Niali police after they failed to trace him even after a frantic search.

In her complaint, the wife of the deceased said she had received a call from an unknown person at about 8 AM on January 30 who told her that he would return the mobile phone and the bike key of Sahu in exchange of money. She said she received a second call from the same person who made the same demand but did not reveal anything about her husband.

Acting on the complaint, the police tracked the mobile phone number and reached the house of Kartika Pani at Krushna Prasad village.

But the police did not find Kartika and his mother, Saila, at the house. Later, acting on a tip-off, police raided Amareswar Sasan village and detained Saila and Kartika’s sister Manju. Basing on the statements of the duo during interrogation, police went to Karanga Kulapitapada village and brought Dilip Jena, nephew of Kartika, to the police station. Acting on his information, police took him to the Taanla river bridge near Satanga village the recovered Sahu’s body which buried under a banyan tree on January 31.

Preliminary investigation revealed that the accused, after strangulating Sahu on January 26, had buried the body near the river bank.

Police later arrested Saila, Manju and Dilip in this connection and began a manhunt to nab Kartika.

The incident had sparked off tension with Congress workers and activists staging a road blockade in Niali demanding the immediate arrest of the accused.

The issue was also raised in the State Assembly as the Opposition members demanded a thorough investigation into the incident.

Bowing to the pressure, the state government ordered a Crime Branch probe into the incident on February 9.

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