Patnagarh Parcel Blast: CB Submits Charge Sheet Against Punjilal Meher

Balangir: The Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Crime Branch has submitted a 300-page preliminary charge sheet against the prime accused of the parcel blast, Punjilal Meher, in Patnagarh SDJM Court on Monday afternoon.

Two persons were killed in the explosion in Odisha’s Balangir district on February 23 this year.

The Crime Branch has mentioned revenge as the motive behind the crime. The prime accused, a lecturer in English, was upset after Sanjukta Sahu replaced him as principal of Jyoti Bikash College. Meher was the acting principal. He deliberately sent the parcel bomb to her house to eliminate her and the family members, which resulted in the death of her son Somya Sekhar and her mother-in-law Jemamani.

In the charge sheet, which was submitted in the court on the penultimate day of the scheduled submission, the Crime Branch has included statement of 72 witnesses and eyewitnesses. However, due to non-availability of the three principal witnesses and the two forensic reports, it has appealed the court to keep the case open.

The 72 witnesses include Rabindra Kumar Sahu and Sanjukta Sahu, parents of Soumya Sekhar Sahu, and 12 lecturers and employees—Gyanendra Swain, Goura Charan Mohapatra, Biranchi Patel, Jitendra Das, Gopabandhu Sahu, Shyam Sundar Meher, Santosh Rout, Hrushikesh Thakur, Thana Sundar Meher, Kunja Bihari Pati and Bhaktabandhu Seth— of the Jyoti Bikash College, Bhainsa.

Along with this, the statement of the two other employees—Sushil Kumar Behera and Laxman Sabar— working at a vehicle parking stand near the Kantabanjhi Railway Station where Meher had parked his motorcycle before boarding a train for Raipur on February 15 to send the parcel bomb through a courier agency, has also been mentioned in the charge sheet.

It also includes the statement of Rina, a woman employee of Krishna Courier Agency at Patnagarh.

Apart from this, the Crime Branch has also mentioned about the list of the seized items, including the letter sent by Meher to the Balangir SP, the receipt book of the vehicle parking stand at Kantabanjhi Railway Station, three mobile phones, pen drive, external hard disk, printer, a gum packet, 30 explosive materials and a CCTV hard disk of the DTDC courier in Raipur.

The Crime Branch has informed the court that it will visit Raipur very soon to trace the three prime witnesses, an auto-rickshaw driver and two rickshaw-pullers, with whom Meher had gone to SkyKing and the DTDC Courier agencies on February 16 to send the parcel bomb.

The state investigating agency has also told the court that it is yet to receive the two reports, one from the State Forensic Science Laboratory at Rasulgarh in Bhubaneswar to whom the items seized from Meher’s house and the live demo of preparing the bomb which he had displayed to the Crime Branch officials at the Circuit House in Raipur on May 6, and the other sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory at Gandhi Nagar in Gujarat to examine the seized mobile phones, pen drive and the hard disk

Following the delay in receiving these two reports, the Crime Branch will submit another charge sheet, the court was informed.

The parcel bomb case, which claimed two lives at Bholanathpada village in Odisha’s Balangir on February 23, had sent shock waves across the state. The newly-wed couple Soumya Sekhar Sahu, his wife Rimamani and grandmother Jemamani were grievously injured while opening a gift pack which exploded.

While Soumya Sekhar and his grandmother succumbed to their injuries, Rimamani was rushed to VIMSAR in Burla and later shifted to SCB Medical College Hospital, Cuttack.

Following a request by Rimarani and her family, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik ordered a Crime Branch probe into the incident. The Crime Branch took over the investigation on March 23 and arrested Meher on April 25. The prime accused is currently lodged in the Patnagarh Sub-Jail.

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