A hotel’s CCTV footage has helped the police crack the case of the attack on the brother and nephew of Congress Jeypore Assembly seat candidate Taraprasad Bahinipati.
According to the police, BJD district youth president Dharmendra Adhikari, along with seven others, attacked Bahinipati’s brother Tuna and nephew Gupta Prasad Mohapatra around midnight on April 11. They can reportedly be seen storming into Room No. 217 of Hotel Madhumita in Jeypore town in Koraput district and stabbing the two as they slept.
IGP (South-Western) Range Y K Jethwa said the police have identified all the eight.
Four special teams have been formed to locate the culprits, who remain on the run, said the police. Attempt to murder case has also been lodged against Ranjeet Bagh and Bapi Parida. Tuna and Mohapatra, who were taken to a hospital in Visakhapatnam, are now in a stable condition. While Tuna was stabbed in the stomach, the nephew was attacked in the thighs.
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Koraput SP Awinash Kumar refused to say whether the seven alleged assailants apart from Adhikari were also BJD members.
Bahinipati accused Orissa School and Mass Education Minister Rabi Nanda’s son for the attack. Nanda is the BJD candidate from Jeypore. “The assailants were led by Nanda’s son. They are nervous about my winning,” said Bahinipati, adding that police were not taking any action on his FIR.
Nanda is on the backfoot on the seat, and had got Bollywood actor Suniel Shetty to campaign for him. Police officials attest that Nanda had tried several tactics to intimate Bahinipati during campaigning as well. Polling was held in Jeypore on April 10.
Bahinipati had lost to Nanda by around 9,000 votes in 2009, fighting on a BJP ticket. He had since returned to the Congress and is credited with having revitalised the party locally.
Protesting against the attack on Bahinipati’s relatives, Congress supporters staged a road blockade on Saturday, disrupting vehicular movement for hours. A 12-hour dawn-to-dusk Koraput bandh was held on Saturday.