HT Image
HT Image

Cops fail to nab Biranchi Das's killers

Marathon sensation Budhia's coach was shot dead by two men in Bhubaneshwar when he was celebrating Oriya New Year's Day.
IANS | By HT Correspondent, Bhubaneswar
UPDATED ON APR 17, 2008 02:13 PM IST

Police are yet to nab the alleged killers of Biranchi Das, the controversial coach of six-year-old marathon sensation Budhia Singh in Orissa, even four days after the crime.

Das was shot dead by two men in Bhubaneshwar on Sunday evening, when he was celebrating Oriya New Year's Day with his students and family in a judo hall.

Das's brother Susanta, who claimed to be present at the crime site, alleged hardcore criminal and gangster Sandip Acharya alias Raja was behind the crime. But the police have failed to arrest him.

"The police are yet to detain a single person in the case and we feel unsafe," said Susanta.

"A search is on," a senior state police official told IANS.

"We have taken this seriously and accepted it as a challenge," he said. "We will nab him soon," the official said on condition of anonymity.

However, the failure of the police to nab Acharya - who faces over 30 other charges of extortion, kidnapping and murder - is lending credence to speculation here that he has a very good relationship with some top police officials.

This has been corroborated by the statement of city Police Commissioner Binoy Behera who told media persons on Tuesday that such a possibility could not be ruled out.

"Some top police and administrative officials have been protecting him since long," a senior home department official said on condition of anonymity.

"Before police raid his hideout, they inform him," he alleged.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik asked the Director General of Police Gopal Chandra Nanda to investigate the alleged nexus and asked him to submit a report to the government soon, he said. The state government is awaiting the report and will act after that, he added.

A section of the media, however, reported on Thursday that Acharya has taken shelter in the neighbouring state of Andhra Pradesh.

Biranchi Das, a judo teacher, became famous after he adopted and trained Budhia. He rescued the marathon kid from a man whom his impoverished mother Sukanti Singh had sold for a paltry sum of Rs.800 to work as a labourer.

Under his tutelage, Budhia created a record in May 2006 by running 65 km from Puri to Bhubaneswar in seven hours. The Limca Book of Records has acknowledged his feat.

But many have accused Das of exploiting the child. Sukanti alleged that Das was using the boy for his personal gain and was abusing him physically and mentally.

In August last year, she lodged a complaint with the police. Das was arrested and later released.

Story Saved