Know how Punjilal Meher plotted, executed Patnagarh gift parcel explosion

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Bolangir: In a shocking revelation which is no less than a Bollywood thriller, Crime Branch IG Arun Bothra today informed regarding the modus operandi of the main conspirator of the Patnagarh wedding gift blast that posed as a great challenge to the police to crack.

Punjilal Meher, an English lecturer of Jyoti Bikash College at Bhainsa, was arrested the previous night after three-day of marathon grilling.

Bothra said the accused had developed ill-feelings for Sanjukta, after she replaced him as the principal of the college, and hatched the conspiracy to settle personal scores with her.

The married life of newly-wed couple Soumya Sekhar Sahu and Reema Sahu who had married on February 18, turned into a graveyard as the groom and grandma Jenamani were killed after an the explosion of a wedding gift parcel on February 23. Reema was critically injured and was admitted to SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack. Later, Reema was discharged from the hospital on April 12.

“Punjilal had neither divulged his plan nor taken anyone to his confidence for fear of being exposed. To accomplish his mission, he had tried to prepare the bomb on his own. After learning the art of preparing bomb from the Internet, he had purchased crackers from the local market on Diwali on October 18, 2017, and collected about 2 kg of gun powder from these. Later, he conducted a series of experiments detonating miniature bombs with the help of mini LED bulbs. After succeeding in his efforts, he reached the final stage of his mission,” Bothra said.

Acting like a cold-blooded criminal, he took a class in the college and later boarded the train to Raipur from Kantabhanji without a ticket in a bid to avoid his identity which could have been captured by the CCTV at the ticket counter. He even used a jacket and cap to camouflage him during the journey.

When he arrived at Raipur, he approached a shopkeeper to book the parcel on his behalf but the shopkeeper did not agree. Making another attempt, he requested an auto-rickshaw driver offering him extra money and successfully made the deal. Later, he even returned without a ticket.

In a bid to mislead police, he wrote an anonymous letter to Bolangir SP giving away indications the crime was connected to a love triangle.

Later, to avoid suspicion, he had deleted files from his laptop and transferred the letter to a pendrive. He also had taken out a hardcopy from a nearby internet café.

The cunning man had also deleted SMSes and Whatsapp chat history.

The accused, during interrogation, confessed to his crimes, he said, adding that the police had seized country bombs, gunpowder and laptop from his house.

The other clue which led to the lecturer’s arrest was recovery of nine similar envelopes from Punjilal’s in which he had sent the letter to the SP.

After Punjilal’s arrest, he was produced before the Patnagarh SDJM Court where police appealed to take him on a 14-day remand. However, the court allowed the probe agency to take Punjilal on a six-day remand.

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