Ajit Bardhan, a 30-year-old sub-inspector who was shot dead by Maoists on Thursday night, had sacrificed his own life to save four civilians who were travelling with him.
“I am the only policeman, the rest of the occupants of the jeep are civilians,” the khaki-clad Bardhan had reportedly told the 50-odd Maoists who had ambushed his Bolero. He had requested them not to harm the civilians after they were kidnapped on Thursday.
“Sir (Bardhan) saved our lives when the Maoists asked us to follow them along with him. Had Ajit sir kept quiet, we would have been killed too,” said Ganesh, the driver.
The Maoists allowed the civilians to go after thoroughly checking the vehicle, he said in a choked voice.
Bardhan, after attending his court duty in a Bonai-based court, was returning in an explosive-laden vehicle to Koida from Rourkela along with four civilians, including the driver, when the Maoists attacked him.
His body was found on Friday near Jharbeda in Chandiposh-Chirubeda forest area. Bardhan’s hands and legs were found tied and it appeared that he had been shot from a close range, police said.
During the combing operation to nab the Maoists, a CRPF jawan was injured in a landmine blast and later succumbed to his injuries.
The jawan has been identified as Muhammad Rafiq.
Later, the SDPO of Bonai police station Sudarsan Sethi, however, managed to locate Bardhan's body, the police said.