Paradip, May 9: The shootout yesterday that had left three persons injured has brought into focus sand-quarrying-related crime in both the Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara districts.
With sand-quarrying lease emerging as a lucrative and money-minting trade, gangsters have shifted their focus to gaining control over it. A similar shootout on April 13 at Naugoan in Jagatsinghpur district was reported in which three persons were injured. The gun battle then had apparently lent ample credence to the belief that sand-quarrying activities had fallen into hands of criminals.
On Thursday evening, three persons were grievously injured when unidentified motorcycle-borne persons shot at them near the crowded Badapalagada junction on National Highway 5 (A), about 20km from Kendrapara district headquarters township.
The injured persons, who sustained multiple bullet wounds, are still battling for life. Police today have claimed to have detained the suspected assailants. The shootout has triggered tension on villages near the highway prompting the police to step up security.
Rivalry over sand-quarrying leasing was the main reason behind the incident, the police said, adding that the assault was perpetrated by hired criminals from a Kendrapara-based crime syndicate.
“The police are looking into the alleged nexus of sand-quarrying traders with criminals. The alleged fixing of sand-quarrying lease deed is also being investigated. The police along with civil administration are trying their best to check the trend,” said Narasingha Bhol, superintendent of police.