BHUBANESWAR: From arrests of dreaded gangsters, circulation of sleazy clips, endorsement of fraudsters by actors, daylight robberies to communal violence and police excesses, the crime scene in Twin City remained active throughout 2016.
The arrest of Cuttack-based dreaded gangster siblings Sushil and Sushant Dhal Samanta was the most prized catch of the Twin City Police Commissionerate. Sushil and Sushant, with their invincible clout over anti-socials and administrative machinery, twisted Government contracts in favour of their stooges. Murders, extortion and kidnapping were part of their daily chores.
It took the police a year-long surveillance to plant moles and collect evidences to nab the duo. The Dhal Samanta brothers were arrested on January 29 from Bhubaneswar with the seizure of a huge cache of arms, luxury cars and huge cash. The siblings are now cooling their heels in two different jails at Bhubaneswar and Choudwar.
Former MLA of Sankhemundi Ramesh Jena, whose henchmen sprayed bullets on cops during a raid at Chandrama Apartment here in 2011, was arrested from an apartment in Khandagiri on March 6 this year. He was charged with 32 cases including murder, rape, extortion, illegal arms trade, operating gutkha factories, tender fixing and land grabbing. After his arrest, the police managed to nab 50 members of his gang.
The arrest of notorious pimp Sunil Meher, who helped spread prostitution menace in the Capital City, was no less a feat for the police. After evading the cops for over two years, Meher was finally nabbed in Kolkata on April 21.
The broad daylight bank dacoity at Rajmahal Square on September 28 exposed serious lapses in policing at sensitive junctions in the Capital. The dacoits, who came on two-wheelers, executed a 45-minute operation to rob the bank at gunpoint and escape from the spot. By the time police were recording statements of the bank staffers, the criminals had packed their bikes in a truck and were heading home to Bihar.
After remaining at large for over one and a half months, the robbers were nabbed on November 15. However, the booty, which comprised `13 lakh in cash and gold worth `40 lakh, is yet to be recovered.
The police had to face a tough time dealing with public unrest which was at the peak during 2016. Violence, which erupted near Dumduma on February 1, saw a pitched battle between two communities of Jadupur and Sarkantara. Prohibitory orders were clamped in the area for two days after rioters vandalised vehicles and hurled stones at police and public.
Police arrested 20 person on charges of violence and arson and organised several peace committee meetings to resolve the matter amicably.
Objections raised by residents of Daruthenga panchayat over the proposed solid waste management plant at Bhuasuni led to clashes between police and locals on the Baranga-Chandaka road on July 29. The protesters pelted stones at garbage carrying trucks resulting in an artificial embargo on solid waste collection and disposal from the Capital City.
Police resorted to lathicharge, blank firing and arrested over two dozen protesters to bring the situation under control. Garbage trucks were escorted till the dumping yard by patrol jeeps amid tight supervision of senior police officers for a fortnight.
Preventive arrests of over 1000 activists of Navanirman Krushak Sangathan (NKS) before commencement of the farmers’ rally on December 13 was termed as a harsh example of police excesses and an attempt to muzzle the voice of farmers.
The ruling BJD found itself in a controversy after a sleazy clip made rounds on social media which allegedly featured Bhubaneswar Mayor Ananta Narayan Jena. After NSUI State president Itish Pradhan spoke before camera that the person in the video was Jena, opposition parties left no stone unturned to seek for the Mayor’s resignation and arrest. A bandh called by BJP over the issue saw fierce clashes between the party’s youth wing and workers of BJD on Janpath on December 20.
While a number of fraudsters were nabbed by the police and Crime Branch during 2016, the highlight was arrest of film producer Prabhas Chandra Rout. As the chairman of Oscar Group of Companies, Rout duped investors from Odisha, Gujarat and Maharashtra to the tune of `230 crore. His firm came into limelight after Odia filmstars were seen endorsing Oscar Group during a film promotion in Gujarat.