Vikash Sharma

Cracking the mystery surrounding the death of Manish Anurag Das, son of senior journalist Navin Das, the Commissionerate Police on Saturday claimed that Manish had been murdered by his three friends following a dispute over payment of hotel bills.

Bhubaneswar DCP Umashankar Dash said all the three accused- Amrit Pritam Biswal, Dinesh Mohapatra and Mrutyunjay Mishra have been arrested in connection with the murder. They have been booked under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections- 364 (a), 302, 201 and 34.

“The investigation has revealed that there was dispute over payment of bill between Manish and the three accused in the hotel. The trio later attacked Manish outside the hostel killing him in the process,” said Dash.

Manish’s body was recovered from a pond at Patrapada on October 10, 2021 hours after he went missing under mysterious circumstances from near Infocity area a day before.

On the day of the incident, Manish had visited the Laxmisagar area along with Amrit, Dinesh and Mrutyunjay at around 5:30 pm and later the foursome went to a hotel at Patrapada.

Both Mrutyunjay and Dinesh hail from Kandhamal and are friends of Amrit. They had earlier surrendered before the cops and it is yet to be ascertained whether they knew Manish on their own.

Dash said, “With a motive to destroy the evidence, the accused disposed Manish’s body in the pond. The mobile phone of Manish is yet to be recovered. As there were no external injury marks on the body, as revealed by the inquest report and post mortem, it is suspected that Manish died during the scuffle and fracases with his friend.”

The accused had later dumped the body in a pond in the vicinity with an intention to destroy evidence, Dash said. “We are waiting for the final post-mortem report. We have an eyewitness who saw the three persons in wet clothes near the pond after the incident. Till now, it has been ascertained that Manish died due to assault,” said Dash adding that the pond was around 500-600 meters away from the hotel.

On reports and allegations that the hotel was being operated by a constable in violation of Covid guidelines, Dash said already the concerned bar has been sealed and an Additional DCP rank officer has been asked to submit a report in this regard.

Meanwhile, sources said that a joint team comprising senior officials from the special squad, Infocity, Tamando and Khandigiri police stations had been formed for investigation following the discovery of Manish’s body from the pond.

On the suspected role of a woman, who was seen in a CCTV footage, in the crime, the Bhubaneswar DCP said, “Our investigation is still on. Our future course will be determined by the evidence we laid our hands on”