Jaleswar: Amid allegations of drug peddling in various parts of Jaleswar in Balasore district, an intelligence squad of the excise department in Cuttack conducted a raid on the house of a person, suspected to be peddling brown sugar, at Jhadeswar, Saturday morning. But the residents assaulted the officials and staff of the squad, a report said.
Excise inspector Jagdish Chandra Samal said Manua, also known as Chachi, has been peddling brown sugar in Jhadeswar. He was arrested along with 450gm of brown sugar worth Rs 50 lakh. As Chachi was being led to the van, over 200 people, including women and children, started jostling with the squad and attacked it. As a result, the squad had to disperse.
Meanwhile, a team from Jaleswar police station led by ASI Ramakant Sethi reached there but feared to take action against a huge crowd.
Eyewitnesses and media persons were shell-shocked over the police inaction. Several people have questioned the motive behind the police inaction.
However, residents alleged that the excise squad had brought brown sugar with them and tried to implicate the innocent people just to take credit. Real brown sugar peddlers escape from the police clutches, they alleged.
The raid was carried out on the instruction of the Deputy Commissioner of Excise Ramchandra Palta. Excise Commissioner Debendra Mohapatra said, “The attack on the excise squad is highly condemnable and unacceptable.” He also said that stern action will be taken against the guilty while people of Jaleswar need to extend cooperation in this direction.
Jaleswar is said to be a drug peddling hub in the state, as brown sugar worth crores of rupees is smuggled into Bhubaneswar and other towns in and outside Odisha from here.