Bhuabneswar, Apr.14.( Odisha.in): The prodigal marathon wonder kid Budhia Singh's former coach Biranchi Das was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Bhubaneshwar on Sunday evening (April 13).
Deputy Commissioner of Police Amitabh Thakur said three assailants came on a motor-cycle when Das was at a function to celebrate the Oriya new year at the Orissa State Judo Association.
His wife, sister and only son along with the inmates of Judo Hall were with him. The attackers came close to Das on the pretext of speaking to him and fired thrice from point blank range. The bullets hit him in the neck and chest, he said.Pic by: Arijit Nayak
The 40-year-old judo trainer was taken to the Capital Hospital where doctors declared him brought dead.
Das, who is survived by wife and a son, was in the company of some friends outside the judo training hall when the incident took place, police said, adding that the assailants fled the scene after shooting him.Senior police officials including police commissioner Binay Behera rushed to the site of incident and the hospital soon after the mishap.
According to some eye witnessess, out of three person came in a bike, one person wearing a helment came closer to Biranchi in the pretext of talking with him. Biranch was heard saying, " no Raja, please go away" and was trying to avoid the stranger.
At that point suddenly the electricity went out in the area and Biranch was heard saying, " do't shoot Raja.." and then the shots were heard and Biranchi fell in a pool of blood. Everything happened so suddenly that none could realise what was happening.
The inmates of Judo Hall soon shifted Biranchi to Capital Hospital, only to be declared dead.
Biranchi's family members suspect involvement of an alleged gangster Raja Acharya in the shoot out. Raja was recently in the news for allegedly threatening starlet Lessly Tripathy with dire consequqnce if she would not marry him.
However Raja had denied the allegations. Subsequqntly there were F.I.R.s in three police stations of the State
Capital in connection with Lessly Tripathy episode and police were searching him.
It is said that Biranchi Das was giving protection to Lessly against Raja which might be the cause of the shoot out. However, the police is probing into different angles of the story. Lessly had also acted in a patriotic song album produced by Biranchi a few months ago.
Das had come to limelight after he discovered the hidden talent in Budhia Singh, a slum boy, and groomed and coached him for a 65 km run from Puri to Bhubaneswar on May 2, 2006.
The wonder kid was just five-year-old when he completed the run non-stop in seven hours and two minutes, creating a record of sorts.The run, however, had triggered a controversy with several organisations and child welfare bodies objecting to such shows involving a little boy.
Even Budhia's mother, Sukanti, had lodged an FIR against Das accusing him of physically torturing the child. She had also sought security cover for Budhia and herself.
Biranchi Das was arrested on August 13, 2007 on the suspicion of torturing Budhia. Das had denied the charges saying these were made up as a result of some petty rows.
Budhia, who was living with mother and sisters in capital city's biggest slum Salia Sahi after being separated from coach Biranchi Das, had been adopted by Orissa government.The boy, who was sent to the state-run hostel at Kalinga Stadium, was later admitted to a reputed public school here.
Budhia was taken aghast when he heard the news about shooting of Biranchi.He said that he was sad to hear such a news. It was Biranchi who had brought him to lime light and had entered his name in the Limca Book of Records. He had assured him to make him participate in Olympic also.
The gunning down of Das sparked off a sensation with his brother Susanta Das alleging that known gangster Raja Acharya was involved in the killing.
DCP Thakur said police was working on some leads based on preliminary information obtained from eyewitnesses and others.
A senior police official said the assailants had fired five shots from 9 mm pistol of which three hit the coach on his neck and chest.
Eyewitnesses said the wife and sister of Das were also present at hall when a ceremony of preparing "sarbat", a traditional beverage was being prepared as a part of celebrations of the Oriya new year day and the incident
Das had gone out of the building following snap in electricity supply when the assailants struck, triggering panic in the complex.