BHUBANESWAR/PATNAGARH: Punjilal Meher, English lecturer of Jyoti Vikash Junior College at Bhainsa where mother of techie Soumya Sekhar Sahoo was the principal, could be the first arrest in the sensational Patnagarh parcel bomb case.If sources are to be believed, the Crime Branch team, led by IG Arun Bothra, has laid its hands on prima facie evidence against Punjilal and it was only a matter of time before he is officially arrested.
Director General of Police Dr RP Sharma acknowledged that vital clues have been collected in the case but declined to divulge the details. "It has been a challenging case. So, let's wait for the details," he said.While Punjilal's grudge against Sanjukta Sahoo, the techie's mother, is seen as the prime motive, the CB team was looking for strong material evidence which could be tied to the English lecturer who is believed to be the mastermind of the case.
An anonymous letter to Balangir SP giving some information about the case which was allegedly written by Punjilal was a major giveaway in the first place. The handwriting and pattern of the content could be linked to Punjilal. Once the teacher is arrested, the handwriting would be matched by the Handwriting Bureau of State Forensic Science Laboratory.
The CB on Monday stumbled upon a cache of crude explosives at the paternal house of Punjilal at Rampur under Patnagarh NAC during its investigation. Punjilal used to frequent the place and the explosives are similar to the ones used in making of the parcel bomb.Using the remnants of the explosive at Soumya Sekhar's house, the matching can be done by the CB at SFSL.Punjilal's laptop could also be another vital piece of evidence in the case.
During investigation, the CB team found that the English lecturer had cleaned his chat, search and even location history on a regular basis."He cleared history on a daily basis from his laptop which means he was covering his tracks. Once he is arrested, we will send the laptop to Central Forensic Science Laboratory either at Gandhinagar or Kolkata where data can be retrieved," sources said.On the day, a 12-member team of CB questioned all the employees of the Bhainsa-based college about Punjilal. The investigation revolved around the character, attitude and approach of the English lecturer. Another team of CB, led by Additional SP Anil Kumar Das, pressed sniffer dogs at the rented house of Punjilal at Meherpada in Patnagarh.
The probe team laid its hands on many incriminating documents.Punjilal served as principal of the college before being replaced by Sanjukta. He was not in good terms with the techie's mother and was reluctant to hand over the charge to the latter.The biggest challenge before the probe agency has been to detect how the tracks of parcel bomb could be covered all through.