Photos of Patrapada firing accused with Cong leaders set tongues wagging

Bhubaneswar: Photographs of Congress leaders, including PCC chief Prasad Harichandan, with Rashmi Ranjan Pattasani alias Sambhu, the prime accused in the Patrapada firing case on August 19, that have surfaced today have set political circles abuzz in the state capital.

Locals in Patrapada area raised eyebrows over the connections between Rashmi Ranjan and Congress leaders.

“To expand the sphere of his criminal activities and show his power, he needs a political party. That is why he used to attend meetings organised by political parties. A police officer would obviously come under pressure because of his association with political parties. He used his rapport with political leaders to create mayhem in our area,” a resident of Patrapada said.

In 2007, Rashmi Ranjan was elected as a Naib Sarpanch. He was also a sarpanch candidate in 2012.

Though many Congress leaders preferred to be mum on the question whether Rashmi Ranjan, who was arrested under the Arms Act for his involvement in the firing, was a member of the Congress party and his links with politicians, the plain-speaking senior Congress leader Suresh Routray did admit that the arrested person was a good organiser for the party.

“He (Rashmi Ranjan) used to attend party activities. However, I have not heard of his involvement in any criminal activities earlier,” Routray said.

Satyabrata Bhoi, Bhubaneswar DCP, has said the investigation is on and the criminal antecedents of Rashmi Ranjan are being verified.

“We are looking at other angles apart from previous enmity in the Patrapada firing case. Possible involvement of other accused will also be probed,” he said.