The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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CM orders probe into Mahto waylay attempt

Ranchi, Sept. 30: Chief minister Madhu Koda today ordered a probe into his deputy Sudhir Mahto getting caught in a trap laid by dacoits near Bengal’s Balrampur, about 60km from Jamshedpur.

Mahto was travelling from Dhanbad to Jamshedpur via Purulia district when iron spikes planted by dacoits punctured his Scorpio tyres around 11.40pm. Occupants of the three-car motorcade, which included security personnel, were stranded on NH-32 for about two-and-half hours.

“As Mahto was coming from Dhanbad, Koda wanted to know if there were any security lapses and if Dhanbad police had provided enough security to his senior cabinet colleague,” said a government source.

Sources in the chief minister’s secretariat said Koda has asked the Dhanbad district administration to investigate and furnish a report. The distance by road from Dhanbad to Jamshedpur via Purulia is a shorter one, probably the reason why this route was chosen for Mahto to travel.

Mahto said he would speak to senior police officers of both the states so that effective measures are taken to prevent such incidents. “When the deputy chief minister had to face such an incident, what will happen to the common man' They are more vulnerable and such menaces should be checked. I will write to the senior police officers in Bengal,” said the deputy chief minister.

The area has been notorious for several such incidents in the past. “When Arjun Munda was in my party, we went to attend a meeting in that area. Then, too, there was a similar incident,” Mahto recalled.

The deputy chief minister was returning from Dhanbad after attending a function at Vinobha Bhave University when the puncture occurred. Mahto’s bodyguards immediately swung into action and cordoned off the minister’s vehicle. Residents of nearby villages also rushed to Mahto’s aid. Some of the security personnel searched the nearby areas for robbers. The presence of gun-totting commandos scared the robbers away, said sources.

Superintendents of police concerned were apparently informed that the deputy chief minister would be passing through the area. But, Mahto alleged, the Bengal government had not provided him a pilot car while passing through Purulia. “The Bengal police arrived much later,” said the Mahto.

It took the Jharkhand and Bengal police half-an-hour to reach the spot and escort the minister to Balrampur police station, where he lodged a complaint. He was escorted to Purulia and another vehicle brought him to Jamshedpur.

Superintendent of police, Purulia, Ashok Prasad said they have launched an investigation. His Seraikela-Kharsawan counterpart Laxman Prasad said: “We are in touch with Bengal police. No arrests have been made.”

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