Balangir: Crime Branch IG Arun Bothra on Wednesday revealed the modus operandi of the main conspirator of the Patnagarh wedding gift blast case which is no less than a Bollywood thriller and had become a great challenge for the state police to crack.
The wedding bonanza of Soumya Sekhar Sahu and Reema Sahu, who had married on February 18, turned into a graveyard as the groom and his grandmother Jemamani died after explosion of a wedding gift on February 23. Reema was seriously injured and was admitted to SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack. She was discharged from the hospital on April 12.
The parcel bomb sender, who remained unidentified for about two months after the horrific incident, turned out to be one Punjilal Meher, an English lecturer of Jyoti Vikas Junior College in Bhainsa where deceased Soumya Sekhar’s mother Sanjukta Sahu is posted as Principal.
“Punjilal had hatched the plan to completely devastate the family of Sanjukta Sahu as he was deeply hurt after he was replaced by her as principal of the College and was not on good terms with her, which Meher revealed during interrogation,” informed the Crime Branch IG.
Punjilal learned making bombs through internet over a period of several months. Later, he bought crackers from Balangir and not from Patnagarh in a bid to avoid any suspicion.
The accused had another house in Rampur apart from Patnagarh, where he single-handedly prepared the parcel bomb by testing small bombs for about 100 times.
As a perfect crime plotter, the English lecturer took fairy lights used for decoration during festivals and took out their filament and joined them together with a circuit, which when pulled would trigger the bomb. He put that filament in the middle of the handmade bomb and camouflaged it as a parcel with a wrapping paper around.
Punjilal, in a move to avoid any suspension on him about the crime, took class in the college and later boarded the train to Raipur from Kantabanji. He even did not buy the train ticket and had used a jacket and cap to camouflage himself during the journey.
On his arrival, he approached a shopkeeper requesting him to book the parcel on his behalf, lest he would be captured in CCTV camera. But when the shopkeeper did not agree, he engaged an auto-rickshaw driver in the task offering him extra money. Later, he even returned without ticket.
Later, to avoid suspicion, he had deleted files from his laptop and transferred the letter he had written to Balanngir SP to a pen drive. He also had taken a hard copy of the letter from a nearby internet café.
The cunning accused even had deleted all his SMSs and cleared his chat history on WhatsApp.
The Crime Branch which was probing the case since March 23 was clueless of the accused. Many times they had visited Raipur from where the parcel was sent. Besides, interrogated all suspected people including the parents of the deceased groom.
However, when Sanjukta informed the probe agency about her dispute with Punjilal, the Crime Branch sleuths started questioning him. Later, they raided his house, where gun powder was recovered.
After the seizure of the gun powder, the Crime Branch officers also seized the receipt of the Skyking Courier which he had kept in a book in his house.
The other clue which led to the lecturer’s arrest was that he had tried to mislead the police by writing a letter to the Superintendent of Police giving away indications that this bomb was connected to a love triangle.
This apart, nine similar envelopes, in which Punjilal had sent the letter were found from Punjilal’s house.
Punjilal was arrested this morning finally. After he was produced before the Patnagarh SDJM Court, police appealed to take him on a 14-day remand. However, the court allowed the probe agency to take Punjilal on a six-day remand.