Bhubaneswar, Jan. 5: A 24-year-old MBA graduate, Satya Narayan Pradhan, was taken into custody by the Puri police today for allegedly killing a 20-year-old girl.
The victim’s half-burnt body was found near a pond at Balanga in Nimapada on Friday.
The police suspected that the victim had been gang raped before being strangulated to death. The police said rested, Satya Narayan Pradhan, from Pidha Sahi, had an affair with the girl and he wanted to get rid of her. The involvement of two to three more persons could not be ruled out.
The police have found an empty liquor bottle, three disposable glasses and a water bottle from an under-construction building near the site of the crime, giving rise to speculation that the alleged killers were under the influence of liquor. The girl had gone missing from her village on January 3.
Villagers informed the police after they spotted the half-burnt body of the girl, who was wearing black trousers and a kurti. The face and upper portion of the body was completely burnt.
The girl’s father could only identify her body by her tattoo, black trousers and footwear. The victim’s father said the accused had been threatening the girl and had told her that he would not let anyone else marry her.
However, the villagers said the accused had promised to marry the girl and he had asked her to accompany him to Bhubaneswar so that they could get a civil marriage done in the capital city. The girl was last seen in the village on January 3 around 10pm.
“The accused was having an affair with the girl and the murder has taken place following a misunderstanding between the two,” said Puri superintendent of police Anup Kumar Sahu.
About the gang rape, Sahu said the body had been sent for post mortem and further investigation would depend on the report.
Police sources said the manner in which the girl had been strangulated did not appear to be the job of one person. Attempts to destroy evidence by setting the body on fire established the fact that three or four persons were involved. Pradhan is being interrogated.
Residents of Pipili blocked the national highway between Puri and Cuttack for four hours protesting against reports in a section of the press that linked the present incident to the Pipili gang rape. Hundreds of vehicles were stranded on the road as the agitators placed burning tyres and did not let vehicles pass through the town.