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Fudge after chance killing

Bhubaneswar, Oct. 24: Not Maoists, but his own guard shot and killed top police officer Jaswinder Singh accidentally yesterday and then made the incident look like an extremist attack.

Singh, 44, the deputy inspector-general of the southwestern range, died when Seshananda Sarangi, one of the two police bodyguards accompanying him, fired accidentally from his 9mm pistol.

Realising that Singh was dead, the two bodyguards — personal security officers in police parlance — and the driver cooked up the story about a Maoist attack.

“A.K. Sarangi (the other guard) then fired another shot from his AK-47 at the jeep windshield to make it look like a Maoist assault,” Amarananda Patnaik, the director- general of police, said.

He had flown to Raygada district, where the incident took place, to investigate.

The trio had gone to the Raygada police station with the bloodied body of Singh and Chandrasekhar Behera, the driver, lodged an FIR about a Maoist attack.

Patnaik said the sequence of events narrated by them had aroused suspicion. During interrogation of the officers the truth tumbled out.

The police chief, who himself interrogated the driver and the guards, denied the version put out yesterday that Singh had been killed in a Maoist attack.

Patnaik said Singh was travelling to Padampur in Raygada district from his headquarters at Sunabeda when the vehicle came across at least three groups of people who stopped it asking for Kali Puja donations. Around noon, Singh and his three companions ran into one group that was persistent.

“Some of the people started throwing stones. Seshananda, who was seated diagonally behind Singh, loaded his pistol to scare away the people. But he accidentally pulled the trigger and the bullet went through Singh’s head in the vehicle,” Patnaik said.

Sarangi was attached to the slain cop only three days ago.

The two guards have been booked under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, Section 25 of the Indian Arms Act and Section 201 of IPC for suppressing evidence. They have been arrested and will be presented in court tomorrow.

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