| The accused persons in police custody . Telegraph pictures
Bhubaneswar, April 8: Five goons, including a hotel management diploma student and a Plus Two student, were arrested while they were planning a dacoity on NH-203 last night.
Police have seized a revolver, a pistol, seven rounds of live ammunition and five high-intensity crude bombs from them.
The accused have been identified as Debashis Mohapatra, 24, his cousin Biswajit Mallia, 28, both natives of Puri and presently staying in Old Town area, Suprabhat Mohapatra, 18, Rajesh Kumar Dalai, 20, and Bibhuti Behera, 19. Debasish and Biswajit, both natives of Puri, were staying at Old Town. All others were residing at Puri town.
Suprabhat is pursuing his diploma in hotel management at an institute in Puri, while Bibhuti had appeared in the recently-concluded Plus Two annual examinations.
The police said both Debashis and Biswajit were historysheeters and were involved in a number of cases, including cases of dacoity, snatching, extortion and attempt to murder.
“So far, we have found involvement of the duo in more than 10 cases in Bhubaneswar and Puri. They have been involved in a number of such cases for last four years,” said a police official. The police are also verifying the antecedents of the three other accused.
The police were keeping a close watch on them for the last 10 days and finally managed to nab them last night.
However, seizure of seven bullets manufactured by Indian Ordnance factories from their possession have put the police on a tizzy. The police are suspecting the bullets might have been procured from a person having a valid licence to procure such bullets.
“During our interrogation, the goons told that they had procured the firearms from Puri by paying Rs 40,000 to Rs 60,000. We suspect a gang is operating in Puri for smuggling of arms from neighbouring states of Bihar and Jharkhand,” said police commissioner R.P Sharma. He also said that investigations were on to nab the middleman who had supplied them guns.
Easy availability of guns in the hands of petty criminals in twin cities of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar has become a major concern for the police.
A source in the police said that most of these guns were smuggled from Bihar and Jharkhand and were supplied to criminals through middlemen. The police have so far seized around 30 guns in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar in the last six months.
Involvement of students, especially engineering students, in crimes such as dacoity and snatching has become a major worry for the city police. On March 10, a gang of six dacoits were arrested while they were planning to commit a robbery. P
The police had seized a country-made pistol, 15 country-made bombs and four rounds of bullets from their possession.
The gang leader, Bhaskar Ray Pritam, was a fourth-year BTech student in a city institute, while one of his accomplices, Papuni Majhi, was a Plus Two student.
In another incident, two engineering students were arrested for killing their friend on April 2.
Sujit Khuntia and his friend Suryakant Das, both engineering students were arrested after they allegedly killed Saroj Kumar Sahoo, a BTech final-year student of an engineering college in Bhubaneswar.