BERHAMPUR: Ganjam police on Friday claimed to have achieved a major breakthrough in the sensational double murder of BJD leaders near Chasanimakhandi village by arresting nine persons in this connection.
Addressing mediapersons, Berhampur SP Pinak Mishra said the two BJD leaders, Sudhir Patra and Sudarshan Suar, were murdered due to political enmity. The arrested persons are mastermind Prashant Gouda and his associates Sumanta Nahak, Santosh Pradhan, Basant Gouda, Sidhanta Gouda, Krushna Gouda besides hired killers Budu Das, B Deba Reddy and Kuna Gouda.
On April 23, Sudhir and Sudarshan were murdered in cold blood near Chasanimakhandi when they were returning to the village in the night. The SP said in the last panchayat elections, wives of Prashant and one Rabi Gouda had contested for the sarpanch post of Nimakhandi. Despite being close to Prashant, Sudarshan and Sudhir campaigned for Rabi’s wife. Prashant spent around Rs 40 lakh in the election but his wife lost by only four votes.
Blaming Sudhir and Sudarshan for the poll defeat, Prashant decided to take revenge. A few days later, Prashant along with Sumanta, Santosh, Basant, Sidhanta and Krushna tried to attack Sudhir and Sudarshan but failed in their attempt. Prashant then hired supari killers Budu, Deba and Kuna for Rs 50,000 to kill the two BJD leaders. He paid Rs 30,000 as advance and was assured to pay the rest after the crime was committed.
On a fateful night, Sudhir and Sudarshan attended a meeting and feast in a nearby village and were returning home when the hired killers attacked them with sharp weapons. The duo was rushed to Digapahandi hospital by villagers but the doctor declared them dead.
In the course of investigation, police found the involvement of Prashant and his associates in the double murder. It also came to light that Prashant was a drug peddler and timber smuggler. On Monday night, Prashant and Sumanta reached Bhismagiri to shift a consignment of ganja and wooden planks and were nabbed by police. Around 202 kg of ganja, 112 wooden planks, a motorcycle, a car, and a tractor were seized from the spot.
During interrogation, Prashant and Sumanta confessed to their crime and based on their statement, police arrested four of their associates and the three supari killers. The hired killers have around a dozen of criminal cases pending against them in different police stations, the SP added.