SSL’s GM murder case; Odisha police team to bring back arrested Mishra and Bal today from Thailand

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Bhubaneswar, Dec 26: In connection to the murder of Mahendra Swain, the General Manager of Seaways Shipping and Logistics Limited (SSLL), the mastermind behind the murder, Mahimananda Mishra was detained by the Thailand police at the Bangkok Immigration Centre after an escape for two months since the case had been registered. Along with him, his close aide and the key conspirator in the murder, Basant Bal was also detained by the cops. It’s stated that the duo will be departed for India today and after reaching Odisha, they will be arrested formally. DGP, KB Singh informed this at a press conference on Sunday, after a Thailand English Daily, ‘Bangkok Post’ reported the news of Mishra’s arrest. A statement issued by the DGP stated that an Odisha police team is heading towards Bangkok in order to liaison with the Thailand police and other agencies for further action. Around 12 agencies had helped the investigating team to arrest the duo. The statement of the DGP stated that the Odisha Police sends a token of gratitude to all the department/agencies for their cooperation at various levels directly or indirectly. The agencies are, Jharkhand police, West Bengal Police, Delhi Police, Haryana Police, Punjab Police, Chandigarh Police, Nepal Police, Thailand Police, Intelligence Bureau, CBI, Enforcement Directorate and Airport Authority of India. Police teams travelled various places of Odisha, West Bengal, Haryana, Punjab, Delhi and Jharkhand during the course of investigation to trace them. The statement further stated that the Police had issued look-out notice and sent to the Red Corner notice to CBI-INTERPOL against the duo so that the two accused cannot escape the country. The statement further pointed out that Mishra used to stay mostly in luxurious five star hotels at various places in his fugitive period like New Delhi, Gudgano, Amritsar, Chandigadh, Bhimdutta (Indo-Nepal Border), Kathmandu and Bangkok. He tried hard to escape from India but could not because of the timely Look out circular. Lastly he chose to escape to Nepal as there is an open border and neither a passport nor a visa is required and later he fled to Bangkok. Although Jamshedpur, Kolkata and Cuttack were the hub of the entire conspiracy/planning but the execution part was done in the Paradeep, Phulnakra and Sangam theatre area in Cuttack which were some of the important places of the conspiracy.

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Earlier, the police had arrested seven more persons involved in the heinous crime including the main accused. The first one is Rakesh Choubey from Sonari, Jamshedpur, Jharkhand. He was the main accused who had received Rs 12 lakh cash advance from OSL in Sept 2016 for the execution of this heinous crime. However, final amount could be very high, which is yet to be ascertained. Choubey along with his associate criminals killed Swain on Oct 26, 2016. Choubey was doing such works for money from Mahima Mishra and his associates. He also used to travel in the Mahima Mishra/OSL’s private aero plane. The second one is Riyasat Hussain aka Riyaz from Chakradharpur, Jharkhand. He was the shooter and bomber and engaged by Choubey and his associates. The third is Mohammad Shamim from Chakradharpur, Jharkhand. He was the bomb manufacturing expert engaged by Choubey. The fourth being Manoj Gochhayat from Cuttack who was the shooter, carrier, helper, local guide engaged by Choubey and his associates. Then came Shiba from Cuttack who had arranged the auto, vehicle and carrier etc. Bapi Sarkhel was involved at the conspiracy level. He had given local guidance to Rakesh Chobey. He was a frequent user of Mahima Mishra’s aeroplane. His service as union leaders was utilized by Mahima to blackmail port/district administration in the name of strike, hartal, paralyzing the Paradeep industrial hub etc. Lastly Sushant Sethy who was in the loop of the entire incident, a close aide of Mahima who arranged everything post incident for Mahima like shelter, five star hotels, air tickets, foreign bookings etc.

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While investigating, police had seized the hand written letter of Mahendra Swain in which he had mentioned about the life threat posed at him by Mahima Mishra and his aide Basant Bal. The letter was sent to GEQD (Hand writing bureau) and the signature was found to be matching with the deceased. Three bikes, one auto used in this crime, three sophisticated pistols along with around 50 ammunitions, eight bottles along with gun powder and other bomb making materials, some photographs in which the accused Rakesh Choubey can be seen using hospitality and aero plane of OSL/Mahima Mishra, a fake Aadhar card having address of dorondo Ranchi, Jamshedpur and a Bank account having around Rs 5 crore of the accused persons and OSL, which has now been frozen were also seized by the cops.

One of the richest businessmen of Odisha, Mishra had masterminded to gun down the top executive of the Hyderabad based SSLL by help of contract criminals over an alleged business rivalry between SSLL and Mishra’s Odisha Stevedores Limited (OSL). The murder was first conceptualized in Sept 2015 itself between Mahima and Rakesh Choubey, during the port strike/closure (related to stevedoring issues: seaways getting contract from JSPL) however things were not pursued by Mishra as ultimately OSL and their associates could get the upper hand by blackmailing the port and district administration in the name of strike, bandh, paralysing port activities. However, the issue cropped up again in August-September 2016 after the seaways again got the contract from SAIL (Seaways had quoted price of Rs 103 per ton against the 143 of OSL for stevedoring). Mahima and his associates tried hard but could not paralyze the port, but failed due to adequate arrangement made by district administration and police authorities. This frustrated them and they decided to eliminate Swain to send a chilling message that he can go to any extent to safeguard his monopoly over stevedoring business at Paradeep.

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