BHUBANESWAR: Manish Anurag’s murder has exposed not just shoddy policing but also plunging integrity of the men in khaki in Bhubaneswar. The bar at Hotel South City where the senior scribe’s son was present before he was murdered was shadow-run by a constable Prasanna Behera. He also happens to be the general secretary of havildar association. On Friday, IIC of Tamando Police Station Pramod Kumar Pattnaik was shifted to Bhubaneswar DCP office on administrative grounds.
Prasanna was suspended yesterday. For record’s sake, he has been suspended several times in his career, including once during last year’s lockdown for consuming alcohol with his associates near Jayadev Bhawan while on duty. He faced suspension during the Khurda hooch tragedy in early 2000 for his role in tipping off an accused. Probe by an Additional DCP rank officer ascertained that he and his brother Niranjan were receiving 32.5 per cent profit each per month from Pradyumna Jena, owner of the bar in Hotel South City. The big question is how did Tamando Police miss the bar’s operation during the curfew hours till 4 am in the night?
Interestingly, local police stations have easy access to information on hotels and bars on a routine basis and during Covid pandemic-induced curfew hours, ascertaining such activities was not a hard job but the local police station, in this case Tamando, turned a blind eye.This has been a case with most police stations of the city under which bars are in operation. Many bars have remained open in the Capital even during the night curfew and police have been happy to see the other way.
“When curfew was from 8 pm, customers could be seen in a bar near my house till 10 pm. And, now they can be seen till 12 am as the curfew is being imposed from 10 pm,” said a resident of Cuttack-Puri Road.
On September 30, some anti-socials thrashed a bouncer for allegedly closing the bar at 10 pm and Laxmisagar police registered a case in this connection. In the same month, two bars were sealed on charges of violating Covid safety protocol and keeping Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) squad locked for 30 minutes in an elevator during a raid. Was the local intelligence of local police so poor that they did not know that the bars were operating?
Meanwhile, a notice has been sent to the Hotel South City bar’s owner on why its license should not be canceled as he flouted the government’s curfew guidelines by serving liquor to the customers till late nights,” said an officer of Excise Department.Interestingly, the bar had submitted license fee till September and was selling alcohol illegally this month. Sources said Pradyumna obtained the license of the bar in the name of his wife, and Prasanna along with his brother were assisting him in running the business.The incident has left Commissionerate Police left red faced and it had no option but to shift Tamando’s IIC Pattnaik while constable Prasanna and bar’s owner were detained for questioning.
- Although police have access to info on bars and hotels, many bars remained open during the night curfew
- On September 30, some anti-socials thrashed a bouncer for closing the bar at 10 pm under Laxmisagar police limits
- Two bars were sealed on charges of violating Covid norms and BMC squad locked for 30 mins in an elevator during a raid
- Hotel South City bar’s also served liquor to the customers till late nights