Lecturer arrested for bomb masked as wedding gift that had killed the bridegroom two months ago

parcel bomb sent by lecturer
The bridegroom Soumya Sekhar Sahu, 26, was killed and his wife Reema severely injured in the bomb blast when he opened the parcel at his family home at Patnagarh town in Odisha on February 23. HT photo

It took the CID department two months to get to the culprit

The Hush Post: Can one imagine a wedding gift being opened by newly-weds, which turns out to be a bomb. Two months ago, this had actually happened in Odisha, resulting in a bomb blast killing the bridegroom, a software engineer; his great-aunt and severely injuring the bride.

The Odisha police on Wednesday arrested an English lecturer of a private college on charges of plotting and executing this bomb blast on February 23. The CID produced the accused, Punjilal Meher, in court and got him on six-day judicial remand for further questioning.

The accused executed the crime single-handedly. Police said Meher made the bomb himself after watching bomb-making videos on YouTube, and then erased his search history. He purchased a huge amount of firecrackers during Diwali last year and started experimenting.

The day Meher went to Raipur by train to send the bomb masked as a wedding gift to the Sahu household, he took a class in college and marked his attendance. He did not even buy a ticket for the Raipur journey. In Raipur, he asked an auto driver to take the parcel to the courier agency. Police found a copy of the courier agency’s receipt from his house in Patnagarh town.

parcel bomb sent by lecturer
The bridegroom Soumya Sekhar Sahu, 26, was killed and his wife Reema severely injured in the bomb blast when he opened the parcel at his family home at Patnagarh town in Odisha on February 23. HT photo

The bomb, sent by courier from Chhattisgarh capital Raipur, exploded when the bridegroom Soumya Sekhar Sahu, 26, opened the parcel at his family home in Bolangir’s Patnagarh town on February 23. The explosion killed him and his 85-year old great-aunt. The newly-wed bride, Reema, 22, suffered extensive injuries in the explosion and was admitted to hospital for more than a month. Soumya and Reema had been married for just five days.

According to the CID officials, Meher, 46, who teaches at Jyoti Vikas College in Odisha’s Patnagarh town in Bolangir district, was aggrieved over the software engineer’s mother, Sanjukta Sahu, replacing him as the principal. Before May 2014, when Sanjukta Sahu, a history lecturer, became the principal of the college, Meher was the principal. This rankled Meher and triggered hatred and envy in his mind.

The CID said when investigators questioned him last month, he sent an “anonymous letter” to the Bolangir superintendent of police, claiming that innocent people ( like him ) were being harassed unnecessarily and police should look into “love affair angle” in the case.

Referring to his clever tactics, police officers who questioned Meher were also surprised at how he had cleaned up almost all traces of his crime. “He is very sharp. His USP was he never used any associate in his crime. I doubt if his wife knew what he was up to,” a senior CID official told a national newspaper. On Tuesday, Meher’s wife, Soudamini, had accused the CID of framing him.

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