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Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

The Commissionerate police on Thursday claimed to have solved the mystery behind the shocking attack on a woman and her daughter at their Shailashree Vihar residence in Bhubaneswar by a cross-dressed man on Tuesday, with the arrest of the prime accused and his friend. 

Deputy Commissioner of Police, Bhubaneswar, Umashankar Dash said that Rupesh Panda had trespassed into the house, dressed like a woman, with an intention to commit burglary. However, when the mother and the daughter duo put up a resistance, he attacked the duo. 

Rupesh works for a private new channel, while his friend and office colleague Sanjay Panda, who has also been arrested, had assisted him in the crime. 

Dash said the crime was borne out of the acute financial crisis Rupesh was facing. “He had borrowed over Rs 18 lakh and was reeling under financial constraints and stress,” Dash said adding that Rupesh had roped Sanjay in the plan to burgle the house.  

Rupesh was detained on Wednesday following his discharge from a hospital where he was admitted for the treatment of the injuries he had suffered during the scuffle at the house. 

During questioning, the police came across several inconsistencies in his narration of how he landed up at the house and why he had dressed himself in a dress while wearing a helmet. This is in the backdrop of the initial suspicion that Rupesh had plans to rob the house, police said.

However, Rupesh tried to mislead the police by claiming that he was attacked by three unidentified miscreants who threatened to kill him if he did not obey their instructions. The bike-borne miscreants then took him to an isolated place, thrashed him inside a car before directing him to enter the house.

The police interrogators noticed gaping holes in Rupesh’s claims and subjected him to intensive questioning during which he broke down and spilled the beans about his plans to rob the house of valuables in order to repay the debts.  

“Rupesh admitted to chalking out the entire plan to burgle the house along with his friend and colleague Sanjay Panda,” Dash said adding that the plan was conceived almost a month prior to the execution. As per plans, the duo had purchased knives, a toy gun, rope and other materials from different marketplaces for the crime.

Dash said the police have seized the blood-stained knife and the bike used to execute the crime.

Detailing the sequence of events, Dash said "Rupesh, dressed up as a woman with a helmet on his head, attacked a woman with the knife while she was cleaning the house (in Chandrasekharpur) and dragged her inside a room before latching the door from inside. The woman screamed and put up a fight. Meanwhile, her mother came downstairs and joined her in counter-attacking Rupesh."

While Rupesh suffered minor injuries in the scuffle and was taken to a hospital from where he was discharged on Wednesday, the mother-daughter duo are stable, Dash said while lauding their courage to stand up against the attacker.

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