VSP official murder: Prime accused among 5 arrested in Odisha capital

Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Jan 10:

Commissionerate Police arrested five persons, including the two alleged kingpins for plotting and executing the murder of Vizag Steel Plant (VSP) AGM I Surya Prasad Rao in the capital city of Odisha on the night of January 4.

Pic: Biswaranjan Mishra
Pic: Biswaranjan Mishra

The kingpins, identified as Guruji alias Piddina Laxman Rao alias Vadi Rammana (50) of Srikakulam district in Andhra Pradesh and Srinibas Panda (40) alias Nibas of Balaram village under the Begunia police limits in Khordha district, were hard core criminals.

The police also arrested three associates of the kingpins, identified as Abid Khan (30) of Rayagada, Manoj Kumar Rout alias Luna (31) of Raghunathpur on the outskirts of the city and Kulamani Rout (37) of Gopalpur village in Kendrapara district presently staying at Nandan Vihar under Infocity police limits here.

The police have seized two Maruti cars and five mobile phones during the operation.

Briefing reporters here, Twin city Commissioner of Police (CP) Dr RP Sharma revealed that a gang of looters have plotted the murder of the AGM.

Narrating the sequence of events leading to the murder, the CP said the AGM was lured by an interstate gang of fraudsters led by mastermind Guruji.

Guruji had collected the phone number of the AGM from a matrimonial site which had featured the details of the deceased who was in search of a bride for his younger son I Balagangadhar.

Guruji had persuaded the AGM to visit Bhubaneswar and meet one Koteswar Rao in Kharavela Nagar area for a match up with his daughter. Convinced by Guruji, the AGM arrived in the city on a flight from Vizag at around 3 pm on January 4.

Guruji’s associate in Odisha Srinibas Panda had picked the AGM in a hired Maruti Swift Dezire car and lodged him in a guest house named Namah Sai located at Kanan Vihar area here.

Pic: Biswaranjan Mishra
Pic: Biswaranjan Mishra

Panda’s associate Kulamani Rout had booked two rooms in the guest house in his name after discussing with Guest house owner Manoj Kumar Rout, who was promised Rs 2 lakh for the help.

After a few hours of stay in the guest house, the accused demanded Rs 5 crore as ransom but the deceased didn’t agree with the proposal. After a long discussion, the gang scaled down the ransom demand to Rs 50 lakh, but the AGM expressed his inability to pay this amount either.

The accused then compelled him to pay whatever he had and took him in a car to two ATMs – an ICICI AM located in the Forest Park area and an SBI ATM at the Sechasadan branch. They withdrew a total of Rs 1.27 lakh from the ATM and looted gold rings and chain of the AGM.

When the AGM protested, they beat him up mercilessly and left him unconscious.

Expecting impending danger from the police, the accused took the AGM and threw him near the Hanuman Temple behind Sainik School in VSS Nagar area in the city.

The police found the deceased body the next morning and registered a case before investigating into the matter. During investigation, the police team found involvement of an interstate gang operating in Odisha and AP. With the help of Andhra police, the Special Squad of the commissionerate police arrested Guruji.

The CP said Guruji will be taken on remand to elicit more information about the murder. He also informed that efforts are on to nab the four or five others involved in the crime.

Charges under sections 364,342,396,386,302 and 120(B) of IPC have been slapped against the accused.

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