Six people have been arrested in connection with the murder of a forest officer early this week here, police said on Friday. The accused identified as Saroj Kumar aka Bablu (32), Laxmi Prasad Sidar (32), Lalit Kumar Bhagat (40), Anuj Chaudhary (22), Dayaram (30) and Puse Ram (65) were arrested yesterday, a district police official said. However, the main accused- Dil Kumar alias Dilo (35)- who is said to be involved in illegal mining activities in the region, was still at large, he added.
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On February 20 night, Forest Ranger of Lailunga forest range in Raigarh Daulat Ram Lader was allegedly hacked to death by a group of assailants near his official residence in Forest Colony under Lailunga police station of the district. As per preliminary investigation, the victim officer had a year ago seized an alleged illegal consignment of teak wood belonging to the main accused Dilo, a native of Lailunga area.
On January 3 this year, Dilo’s tractor which was being used in transporting the illegally mined stone chips was also seized again by the same forest officer, he said. On the evening of February 20, Dilo along with his associates reached the house of Lader in Forest Colony and accused him of deliberately taking action against his vehicle. He also had a heated exchange of words with Lader and threatened him asking to release his tractor, the police official said.
However, Dilo was pacified by some other forest employees who were present there after which he left the spot. Later in the night on same day, when the victim was taking a walk after dinner in his locality, Dilo and other accused, armed with an axe, stormed into his place and attacked him leaving the officer dead on the spot, he added.
Based on the evidence and inputs, it was revealed that seven people were involved in the crime following which six of them were arrested, he said. Besides, the weapon used in the murder has also been seized, the official said adding that efforts are on to nab the prime accused.