BHUBANESWAR: In a brazen act of defiance, a chit fund scam accused on Tuesday assaulted several journalists, including two news photographers, who had gone there to cover a CBI raid on his house at Badgada Brit Colony.
The CBI on Tuesday conducted raids on 13 premises of Swastik India in connection with the chit fund scam.
The journalists were standing near his house when Ranjan Das, chairman of Swastik India Multi State Credit Cooperative, launched an unprovoked attack on them. He not only beat them up along with his personal security guards and relatives, but also locked them up in his house until they were rescued by the police.
Das, interestingly, is out on bail granted by the Orissa High Court on grounds of suffering from cancer. That he dared to attack the mediapersons who were performing their duty has raised serious questions on law enforcement agencies.
Three journalists, ETV reporter Subhrakanta Padhiary along with photographers Jitendra Mohanty and Manoranjan Mishra of ‘Samay’ and ‘Dharitri’ respectively, sustained injuries in the attack. While Mohanty was being attacked, Padhiary and Mishra managed to escape and reported the incident to Badagada police.
“We were covering the raid as part of our professional assignment. Das and his goons not only attacked us but threatened us at gun point against publishing the report and photographs,” Jitendra said.
Police arrested Das while his associates managed to give police the slip. There were some relatives of Das along with the security who attacked the journalists. We will nab them soon,” DCP Satyabrata Bhoi said.
The assault has fuelled sharp outrage among the journalists fraternity with editors of several newspapers rushing to Badgada police station after the incident.
While condemning the incident, editor of Dharitri Tathagat Satpathy demanded strong action against Das and immediate arrest of the other culprits. “An accused in the chit fund scam resorting to an act of violence in broad daylight should be taken seriously by the Police Commissionerate,” he stated.
Managing editor of ‘Pragativadi’ Samhit Bal said, “Das has come out on bail on medical grounds claiming that he is suffering from oral cancer. If someone is suffering from cancer, how can he be so alert and active to confine and attack journalists who were doing their job,” Bal said.
DCP Bhoi also said police would write to the CBI seeking cancellation of Das’ bail.