Even as the Naveen Patnaik Government faced gross embarrassment in the State Assembly over deteriorating law and order situation and increasing atrocities against women, the Capital City saw anti-socials making a mockery of Commissionerate Police by shooting at a havildar after attacking a builder on Saturday evening.
The incident occurred at the busy Station Square at about 9.45 pm when a couple was returning from the Lalchand Jewellers market complex.
Only hundred metres away, along the Mahatma Gandhi Marg, a large posse of policemen was standing guard but the criminals managed to give a slip to the cops.
Eyewitnesses said two youths tried to rob the wife. When the husband offered resistance, one of them brought out a sharp weapon and attacked him in full public glare.
The locals tried to capture the attacker who was in an inebriated condition. Two havildars, stationed at nearby assistance booth, also joined the locals.
Meanwhile, two accomplices of the duo, waiting on another bike, started firing to give cover to their friends. "We could manage to give the attacker a chase till the park and also succeeded in capturing him but his associates started firing at us," said an eyewitness who tried to help the couple.
In the two rounds of firing, one bullet hit the foot of a havildar crippling his movement.
Taking advantage of the panic that the firing created, the other two managed to get on the bike and the four fled.
The builder suffered deep cut injuries on his head while the constable had a bullet lodged in his feet, preliminary investigation said. They were rushed to Sparsh Hospital.
Officers from Kharavela Nagar Police, which is located nearby, rushed to the spot but it was too late by then. Since the MG Marg has been closed for public, the four are believed to have sped along the Janpath. One of the criminals is stated to be from Cuttack.
The incident has shocked the City as there has been a rise in such incidents of bloody robbery and snatching in the last few months.
Although there has been huge mobilisation of police force as the Assembly is in session, the criminals seem to care less.