Nuapada (Odisha), May 8 - A police officer was kidnapped by Maoists and shot dead today in a forest area in this Odisha district bordering Chhattisgarh, weeks after the abduction and unharmed release of two Italians and a BJD MLA in the state.
"A group of armed Maoists abducted the ASI and shot him dead. His body has been recovered," Director General of Police Manmohan Praharaj told PTI.
ASI of Dharmabandha outpost Kruparam Majhi was escorting a water tanker to the CRPF camp at Goudha with a constable on a motorcycle when they were stopped by a group of about 30 armed Maoists, Sub-Divisional Police Officer Prafulla Patra said.
Constable Deo Narayan Sahu was asked to leave and Majhi was taken at gunpoint by the Maoists into the forest, he said.
Majhi's bullet riddled body was found at a place between Bharuamunda and Lodra, barely five km from the spot where he was kidnapped, Patra said.
The body was found near the Sunabeda Sanctuary, located close to Chhattisgarh.
Maoists, who infiltrated into the sanctuary and camped there recently from neighbouring Chhattisgarh were suspected to be behind the killing, police sources said.
The killing came close on the heels of kidnap of the two Italians in Kandhamal district and BJD MLA Jhina Hikaka in Koraput district by two different Maoist groups. All three were subsequently released unharmed.
Condemning the killing as barbaric and savage, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said an ex-gratia of Rs 8 lakh and Rs 10 lakh in insurance would be paid to Majhi's family.
One member of his family would be given a job and special pension would also be provided, he said.
Praharaj said the body had three gunshot wounds, adding the last rites would be performed with full state honours.
44-year-old Majhi, who had joined as a constable and hailed from Beltukri, has a wife and four daughters.
The water tanker was also torched by the Maoists who fled.
Praharaj said a massive combing operation has been launched in the area by CRPF and police. PTI