Bhubaneswar: Going by the recent claims made by Abhay, the chief of Odisha police, 2020 was more or less peaceful in so far as the law and order and overall crime graph in the State was concerned.
Despite the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic situation, the Odisha Police carried out its’ duty diligently while striking a balance between the proper implementation of the lockdown or pandemic regulations and maintenance of law and order situation with a humane touch.
However, despite the best efforts put in by the police, sporadic instances of crime and criminal activities surfaced across districts in the state in irregular intervals. Odishatv.in sums up the major crimes that shook the state in 2020.
Pari Murder Case
The alleged rape & murder of 5-year-old girl in Nayagarh district shook the conscience of people in Odisha this year. The incident sparked massive public outrage with Opposition parties rattling the Odisha Government with demands of removing of Minister Arun Sahoo for his alleged complicity in the brutal crime.
The State government was forced to constitute a SIT to investigate the case in December, more than 5 months after the girl was killed. Days after its’ formation, the SIT, led by senior IPS officer Arun Bothra, claimed success in the sensational case by arresting one Saroj Sethi of Jadupur village.
The SIT claimed that child pornography addict Sethi even attempted intercourse with the minor girl after strangulating her to death. While the trappings of the crime shook the conscience of people, eyebrows were also raised over the veracity of the findings.
Tata Motors ‘Recruitment Fraud’
The arrest of crorepati IFS officer Abhay Kant Pathak in a DA case and his son Akash in a fraud involving the duping of tens of aspirants on pretext of providing jobs with Tata Motors was perhaps the most talked about incident in 2020.
In fact, the arrest of the BJD MLA from Gopalpur Pradeep Panigrahi, not only came as an eye opener to the unprecedented neta-public servant corruption nexus at work in the State, it was also a reminder of the overall failure of the system that failed to locate and contain it.
Spate In Loot Incidents During Lockdown
Taking advantage of the lapses in patrolling and surveillance by the police, a number of daylight loot incidents were reported this year, especially during the COVID-19 induced lockdown period in Bhubaneswar.
Major Loot At Cuttack Finance Company
On November 12, armed miscreants looted cash and gold ornaments worth over Rs 12 crores from a private finance company at the busy Naya Sarak area in Cuttack.
Over 10 persons including several employees of the finance company were subsequently arrested in connection with the day-light dacoity. The incident was part of a series of bank, ATM kiosk and jewellery shop loots reported from across the state.
Spike In Poaching & Seizure Of Wildlife Products
Odisha reported a spate in seizure of wildlife products in 2020.
On December 7, a teacher in Dhenkanal district was arrested by the Forest department for allegedly slaughtering wild animals in the Kapilasa Wildlife Sanctuary for smuggling their hides and body parts.
A massive cache of wildlife products, including two leopard skins, several elephant and wild boar tusks, deer antlers, skins, turtle shells and bear nails were recovered from a safe house following the arrest of Narendra Kumar Digi, who worked as a teacher at Jamuanalia Upper Primary School in Sorisiapada area. Two of his associates, Anant Murmu and Laxman Murmu, were also arrested.
Success For Odisha Police
Detection Of Infocity ATM Loot
On November 16, the Commissionerate Police claimed a breakthrough in the Rs 27 lakh loot at the PNB ATM in Bhubaneswar by nabbing two inter-State robbers from Vizag.
The two accused- Samarjyot Singh, who hailed from Punjab. and Zafar Sadiq, a native of Kerala-- were arrested. It was learnt that the duo used to operate from Bangalore and targeted ATM kiosks in different parts of the country.
Record Seizure Of Narcotics
The Odisha Police and the Special Task Force (STF) of the Crime Branch claimed success after launching a massive crackdown on illegal narcotics syndicates and trade in the State.
Due to the sustained drive in 2020, the STF alone seized over 24 kgs of Brown Sugar and arrested 50 drug peddlers from different parts of the State.
Crackdown On Food Adulteration Units
The Commissionerate Police this year went tough on units engaged in adulteration of food products. A massive crackdown was launched in different parts of Cuttack which had turned into a hub of adulterated food products.
Over 16 such adulterated food units have so far been raided and property worth crores seized by the police in the city.