Cuttack/Paradip: Apprehending police action, Orissa Stevedore Limited (OSL) managing director Mahimananda Mishra and three of his employees- OSL general manager Basant Kumar Bal, and two senior executives Subhas Acharya and Devi Tripathy- today filed petition in the Orissa High Court seeking anticipatory bail in connection with the murder of Mahendra Swain, a senior manager of OSL's rival stevedoring agency Seaways Shipping and Logistics Private Limited (SSL).
Mishra also challenged the lookout notice issued against him by police.
The OSL MD and his three employees were booked following a FIR lodged by the brother of slain SSL manager at Paradip last month, alleging that Mishra and three of his employees had hired criminals to gun down his brother.
The police had hinted at OSL's involvement in the killing of Seaways Shipping General Manager.
From preliminary investigation it is observed that OSL hatched a conspiracy to eliminate Swain. Stevedoring rivalry at the Paradip port is suspected to be the main reason behind the murder of Swain, Central range Inspector General (IG) Soumendra Priyadarshi had said yesterday.
Meanwhile, five key accused, who were arrested yesterday, have been sent to jail after their bail petitions were rejected by the local court.
The prime accused in the incident is Rakesh Chaubey of Jamshedpur. Another person identified as Riyasat Hussain of Jamshedpur hurled bombs and fired at Swain. He was assisted by Muhammad Samin of Jharkhand. Manoj Gochhayat and Shiva of Cuttack were also involved in the incident, police had said
Mahendra Swain was fired at by unidentified miscreants from a close range at Madhuban near the Central School on October 26 while he was going to his office.
The OSL was at loggerheads with Paradip unit of Hyderabad-based Seaways Shipping and Logistics limited (SSLL) over stevedoring operation in Paradip port since last year following which Swain was apprehensive of threat to his life and had sought security, sources said.
On the other hand, Congress leader from the port town Bapi Sarkhel against whom police today issued the lookout circular appeared before police in the afternoon. Sarkhel is in the police scanner for his alleged links with key accused Rakesh Chaubey. A senior police officer said the Congress leader came to the police station only for investigation. “He has not been arrested, but only has come for investigation”, the officer said.
Sarkhel, however, targeted local MLA and minister Damodar Rout. “Dama Babu is my traditional rival. He must want to trap me in the case”, Sarkhel said.
Similarly, Rout considered Sarkhel’s views meaningless for him. “If he does something wrong, police would have issued lookout notice. Debate should not be done on the views and opinion of a criminal. After all, he is not my contemporary politician”, Rout added.