Mahimananda Mishra, who runs a stevedore company among several ventures in Odisha, was arrested from Bangkok in connection with the murder of a shipping company executive, Mahendra Swain. This is not for the first time Mishra, 63, came into limelight regarding a probe in a murder case. Two earlier murder cases against him, in 1998 and 2013, had been closed by the CID for want of evidence. Swain, a senior executive of Seaways Shipping which is a Hyderabad-based entity, was murdered as a result of rivalry – he was in competition with Mishra’s network. Police had issued a lookout circular for Mishra in the wake of the murder. Mishra and an associate, Basant Bal, were arrested from a hotel in Bangkok by an Odisha police team and brought back to Bhubaneswar.
According to the reports by Indian Express, a crude bomb was thrown at Mahendra Swain, who was then shot dead on October 26, 2016 while he was on his way to his office in the port town of Paradip. In May 1998, the duo, Mishra and Bal were also accused of the murder of Bichitrananda Mallick, vice-president of Paradip Phosphates Mazdoor Union was hacked to death. There the case was closed by CID, for want of evidence. Not only this Mishra was accused in the murder of Arun Bhatt of Cuttack in 2013 as well. Mishra had allegedly wanted to buy Bhatt’s land in Kalinga but the latter was reluctant to sell, which led Bhatt’s murder where he was attacked with bombs and then shot dead. The CID closed this case too. Another case is being probed, where Mishra was also being accused of an attempt to murder a rival for a coal contract in Talcher, Angul, in 2011, police said.
Odisha DGP KB Singh, said, “Mishra and his associates tried to paralyse the work at the port but due to arrangements by district and police authorities they could not succeed. He feared his authority would be eroded if contracts are bagged without his nod. He thus decided to eliminate Swain and show that he still called the shots.”
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According to the police, they have evidence that Mishra paid Rs 12 lakh in cash to the alleged main killer, Rakesh Choubey, and that Mishra had promised another Rs 50 lakh after the murder. Port officials too felt Mishra was anxious about losing his influence in Paradip port, which has become India’s second biggest port handling 76 million tonnes of cargo, second only to Kandla port in Gujarat at 1 billion tonnes. With a Rs 20,000 crore expansion plan, Paradip would be India’s biggest port.
After Mishra and Bal were taken to a court in Kujang of Paradip on Tuesday, his lawyers from the Supreme Court and the high court failed to get him a bail. Mishra complained of chest pain and was admitted to the district headquarters hospital in Jagatsinghpur.