Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Director General of Orissa Police Amarananda Pattnaik is in a predicament.

He is pressed upon to conduct a fresh enquiry on an Inspector General of Police Mr. Sanjiv Marik?s connections with the underworld.

If he finally agrees with the original police report that Marik was hand-in-glove with a gang of criminals from his home state of Bihar, Marik?s patron in Orissa, presumably on whose pressure he is conducting the enquiry afresh, obviously too powerful for him to ignore, would be irked.

If he disagrees with the original police report and exonerates Marik, he can never convince anybody that he has not acted under leverage.

It is such a case that the DGP?s report, if that goes in the second line, would be a fit case for judicial scrutiny and it would be not easy at this point to speculate what turn that would then take.

As sequences of the case unveil, on April 10, 2007 the police at Bhadrak had thwarted a lurking jailbreak. A gang of criminals hailing from Bihar along with a hoodlum called Krushna Behera, who was allegedly deputed by Mr. Marik to carry out the jail-break in order to set free a group of notorious robbers, who have been imprisoned under trial for looting 23 lakhs of rupees and for killing, on the spot, two persons including a brother of a police officer and maiming four others including a 10 year old child while firing at the public in front of the LIC office at Bhadrak in February, were arrested and were subjected to intense investigation.

On interrogation, the Crime Branch Police elicited from Behera and his team that it was Marik who had played patron to them.

An IG?s nexus with hardened criminals thus discovered, the Crime Branch Police thought it prudent to submit its report along with proofs to the DGP.

Mr. Pattanaik received this report on April 13. He perused it in depth for a week and forwarded it to the Home department for appropriate action against Mr. Marik. Then cloud started shrouding over the issue.

Chief minister Naveen Patnaik holds the Home portfolio. Marik was quite close to his father when Biju Patnaik was the chief minister for the last time.

He was S.P. then. Very active and prompt. But police was not showing any promptness to curb crime.

I still remember, when a government quarter in Unit-6 was allotted to me, journalist Jayashish Roy, whose family was earlier staying nearby, had advised me not to accept the allotment. The reason: there were a lot of drug addicts in the area and given my disposition, my staying there would not be smooth. I came and encounter with the addicts started.

There was a wooden cabin by the side of my residence. Nobody knew to whom it belonged. But after 7 in every evening, young boys were coming to it cautiously, matchsticks were burning, d?j? vu vibrating from the half-closed-half-opened cabin to nearby streets of unit-6 was reminding me of the warning uttered by my young friend Jayashish.

I had no doubt that it was a drug joint.

As I could not accept that the joint was going on without the knowledge of the local police, I preferred to tell the S.P. of this. Not once, but many times I had met Marik in this matter. There was no action.

There was a friend of mine in the arboriculture nursery where hundreds of gardeners were working. He had tremendous influence over them. There was also a tractor with a trolley in the said nursery. The driver of the tractor was obedient to my friend. I asked my friend for help.

In a late night, twenty numbers of trusted gardeners of the nursery came in the tractor. The cabin was shifted without any sound and loaded on the trolley. It was taken away almost stealthily and discarded inside a branch nursery of the G. A. department.

Interestingly, after the cabin was thus removed, a police officer tried to know from me if I knew whereto the cabin had gone! But on query I found that no body had filed any information on non-existence of the cabin. And, there the matter ended.

To recall another event, Mr. Padmanav Bal, a former D.S.P., who was in charge of security of a chief minister because of his sense of responsibility, had told me after this event that he once saw a young man trying to cut open the iron grill of the inner corridor of his residence. As Bal rushed to the spot, the miscreant fled. ?Why did you not use your service revolver to restrict him on the spot?? – I had asked. His instant reply was, ? I knew him. I would have attracted disadvantage had I taken any step against him, because that could have displeased my boss?.

Thus was the time in Bhubaneswar when Marik was the S.P. But he had tremendous proximity to Biju Patnaik. What was the undisclosed reason of their nearness might be known to Mr. Pyari Mohan Mohapatra, Biju?s the then trusted Secretary, who now is known as ?uncle? of the present government.

So, if DGP Amarananda Pattnaik disagrees with the original Crime Branch report, which he had earlier endorsed, and exonerates Marik, there is every possibility of people looking at that as an act under extralegal influence.

Whether or not the Police Chief adheres to probity and principles will be known very soon. As on now, he is in a predicament.

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