Bhubaneswar, Sept. 3: Nihar Ranjan Pradhan, 30-year-old criminal, was injured last night in an encounter with the police near Sainik school at Gajapati Nagar.
The police seized a stolen motorcycle and a pistol from him. Pradhan hails from Bandal village in Puri district. He had been absconding since the firing at VSS Nagar on June 8.
Acting on a tip-off, the police raided on Pradhan’s hideout at Gajapati Nagar. Sensing danger, Pradhan started firing at the police team. In retaliation the police fired at him. Pradhan sustained bullet injuries on his both legs. Prior to firing, he had a scuffle with the police in which inspector in-charge of Saheed Nagar police station Alok Jena had sustained injuries.
A police officer said they had got an information about Pradhan planning to commit crime in the city. “He had been absconding since the firing incident and came to the capital city on Ganesh puja to commit crime. Seeing us, he started running and we gave him a chase. Following a scuffle, he fired at us and we retaliated,” said the officer.
The criminal was then admitted to Capital Hospital and later shifted to S.C.B. Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack. His condition was learnt to be stable.
The police said Pradhan was involved in as many as 13 cases in Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Puri and Ganjam. Out of these cases, he was wanted in three cases of Puri, Cuttack and Bhubaneswar. Non-bailable warrants in four cases have been issued against him. He was mostly involved in dacoity, murder and attempt to murder cases.
Deputy commissioner of police Nitinjeet Singh said that after the VSS Nagar firing incident, Pradhan left the city and got involved in a robbery in Ganjam. “He used to commit crime at one place and was hiding at other place for sometime. After committing another crime there he was again leaving for other places. This was creating problem for the police to arrest him,” said Singh.
A senior police officer said Pradhan had been active in crime since 2003. “Earlier, he used to rob people by providing them escort service through beautiful girls. But in the last two years, he started committing hardcore crimes,” said the officer. The police said Pradhan had been involved in several more cases in which he could not be identified.
Pradhan’s associate Brahmanand Padhi was arrested after they fired at businessman Ashok Sahu at VSS Nagar market on June 8 following a road rage.
He was booked under sections 307 (attempt to murder), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty) and 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) of the Indian Penal Code and sections 25 and 27 of the Arms Act.