Assaulted by ganja peddlers, police officer battles for life in Kalaburagi

Circle Inspector of Police Sreemanth Illal led a police team to a ganja field in a Maharashtra village on State’s border in Bidar district as part of investigation

September 24, 2022 05:24 pm | Updated 05:24 pm IST - KALABURAGI:

Circle Inspector of Police Sreemanth Illal, who was assaulted by a gang of over 40 ganja smugglers near a village in Maharashtra on the Karnataka-Maharashtra border in Bidar district late on Friday.

Circle Inspector of Police Sreemanth Illal, who was assaulted by a gang of over 40 ganja smugglers near a village in Maharashtra on the Karnataka-Maharashtra border in Bidar district late on Friday. | Photo Credit: Arun Kulkarni

Circle Inspector of Police Sreemanth Illal, who was assaulted by a gang of over 40 ganja growers and smugglers near Turori and Honnali villages on the Karnataka-Maharashtra border in Bidar district late on Friday, was struggling for life at United Hospital in Kalaburagi on Saturday.

The officer, who was critically injured in the attack, was first rushed to a nearby hospital at Basavakalyan in Bidar district and later shifted to the United Hospital in Kalaburagi by 4.30 a.m. on Saturday.

As per the sources in the hospital, eight ribs of the officer were fractured, and as a result, the lung was also damaged in the assault. There were also some injuries on the head and face, which the doctors opined, were not so serious as compared to the damage inflicted on the ribs and lungs. The officer was immediately attended and put on ventilator.

Circle Inspector of Police Sreemanth Illal, who was assaulted by  40 ganja smugglers near a village in Maharashtra.

Circle Inspector of Police Sreemanth Illal, who was assaulted by 40 ganja smugglers near a village in Maharashtra. | Photo Credit: Arun Kulkarni

Inspector General of Police (North Eastern Range) Manish Kharbikar, Superintendent of Police Isha Panth, Additional Superintendent of Police Prasanna Desai and other senior officers camped in the hospital monitoring the situation.

The officers discussed in length the suggestions from Home Minister Araga Jnanendra to shift the officer to either Bengaluru or Hyderabad, along with the doctors and family members of the injured. When they sought the doctor’s opinion on whether the patient could be shifted using a special aircraft,  Dr. Sudarshan Lakhe, an intensivist who led the team of doctors treating the injured police officer, held that shifting the patient who was not yet stabilised would be risky. “Though the patient’s condition has improved, it is not advisable to shift him before he gets stabilised,” Dr. Lakhe said. Then, the proposal of shifting the patient was dropped for the day.  Since there was no night landing facility in Kalaburagi Airport, it was decided to shift the patient to Hyderabad on Sunday, if required.

“The Superintendent of Osmananbad has been in touch with me since the incident happened. Maharashtra police are extending all cooperation. Bidar police are booking a case on the incident. We will shortly nab the culprits shortly,” Ms. Pant told The Hindu at the United Hospital.

Dr. Sharn Prakash Patil, who visited the hospital, told the police to act swift and take stringent action so that the morality of the police and the public confidence in police is restored.

On Thursday, Kalaburagi police arrested two ganja peddlers – Naveen Mangal Upadhyaya, a native of Kalaburagi and Santosh, a resident of Bhosga in Basavakalyan – near Dastapur cross in Kamalapur taluk and recovered 300-gram ganja from them. During the interrogation, the accused revealed that the ganja was grown in and smuggled from an agriculture field near a village at Omerga taluk of Osmananbad district in Maharashtra, which was on Karnataka-Maharashtra border.

On Friday, Mr. Illal, as part of the investigation, led a team of police officers to the source of ganja that was seized and found the field where the ganja was cultivated. He informed the Maharashtra police and remained in the area with his team waiting for Maharashtra police. Before the Maharashtra police arrived, a gang of over 40 people armed with rods and cudgels attacked Mr. Illal and his team by 8.30 p.m. and fled. Additional forces that were immediately dispatched reached the spot and found critically injured Mr. Illal lying on in the field.

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