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Ex-V-C hacked to death, youth out on bail held

The accused, Pravin Dharwa alias Rimit (20), was arrested on charges of murder.

Former Vice-Chancellor of Sambalpur University, Dr Dhrubraj Naik was hacked to death outside his house in Jharsuguda district on Sunday morning, police said. He was 83.

The accused, Pravin Dharwa alias Rimit (20), was arrested on charges of murder.

As per preliminary investigations, Naik had filed an FIR against Dharwa and his family members for illegally trying to capture his pond in his native village of Sargidihi under Laikera police station a month ago. Dharwa had been arrested and later released on bail.

“Naik owns two ponds in his ancestral village. He had given the ponds on lease for Rs 1,20,000 for three years to a few families of the village. The lease ended earlier this year and he wanted to renew the agreement. But the accused and his family had refused to give up the pond, claiming that it was now theirs. This led to an altercation and Naik had filed a complaint against him and his family members,” Jharsuguda SP Bikash Dash told The Indian Express.

Police said Dharwa and his family spent Rs 15,000 as legal expenses in the previous case, which he wanted Naik to repay. “He had gone to his home to demand the money,” Dash said.

Naik’s son-in-law Swapan Naik said, “I was at home when the accused arrived with an axe… My father-in-law was not at home. Dharwa asked my mother-in-law for money but we did not know the context.”

Minutes later, Naik arrived and asked Dharwa to leave. As Dharwa kept demanding money, Naik walked out of the house to make a phone call. Dharwa followed him outside, an argument ensued, following which he held Naik by the neck and attacked him with an axe, the police said.

Naik was rushed to hospital but succumbed to his injuries.

Dharwa was nabbed after a two-hour search by the police in the jungles near the village. He was booked under IPC section 302 (murder).

Naik entered the Odisha Education Service in 1962 and served as a lecturer of zoology in Utkal University, a position which he held till his retirement in June 1998. Soon after, he was appointed as Vice-Chancellor of Sambalpur University for three years and he completed his tenure in July 2001.

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