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February 2, 2000
The Rediff Interview/Superintendent of Police Y B Khurania
'It is a triumph for the entire police force'
Y B Khurania, a 1990 batch Indian Police Service officer, took up his assignment as superintendent of police, Mayurbhanj, on January 10 this year. Three weeks later, he had accomplished something that had appeared impossible for an entire year. He had arrested the notorious Dara Singh, prime accused in the murder on January 22, 1999, of Australia-born missionary Graham Stewart Staines and his two young sons.
The entire operation to nab Rabindrapal alias Dara Singh was masterminded by Khurania.
The entire operation to nab Rabindrapal alias Dara Singh was masterminded by Khurania.Bibhuti Mishra spoke to the dynamic young officer at Baripada hours after his exploits made the national headlines. Excerpts from the interview:
How did you succeed where others failed?
As soon as I joined, I found that there was a lot of pressure on us. For more than a year a large contingent of police had been deployed to track down and arrest Dara. This was causing a breakdown of law and order in other parts of the district. We could not have carried on like this for long. Besides, the assembly elections are approaching and with more than 30 per cent of the police deployed in catching Dara, we could not have coped with the electoral demands. So we set ourselves a deadline, January 31, and I am glad we succeeded.
But what was your strategy?
We chose officers and constables who were very familiar with the topography of the area that Dara roamed in. It is difficult terrain. Then we located people who knew Dara and his movements. Sources were cultivated and through one of the sources we came to know that Dara was looking for a gun, ostensibly for elephant hunting. We pressed in a police decoy who managed to get in touch with an intermediary and convince Dara that he wanted to sell a gun.
What were the difficulties?
You see, Dara was extremely suspicious. Many of his associates had been arrested. So he had also not much faith in his close associates. That is why he did not turn up at the rendezvous spot twice though he had promised to come for the deal. But yesterday he came and was nabbed. He had become so suspicious that even in winter he was sleeping out in the open and sleeping very little.
Why did previous attempts to capture him fail?
One reason was that the information coming to the police was stale, so it was difficult to zero in on him. He had given the police the slip three times and that called for some additional precautions.
For one we did not use police vehicles. The vehicles were parked more than 10km away. We walked all the way, that too avoiding the village routes, as Dara had his own informants. Uniformed policemen were kept at a distance to come to our aid in case of a contingency. The final team consisted of plainclothesmen.
This is your fifth posting as SP of a district. What did you learn from your experiences elsewhere? And is this a personal triumph for you?
I was the SP of Ganjam [also in Orissa] when we captured the dreaded Dilip Nayak, the notorious dacoit. Besides I had some experience in dealing with the Naxalites. I drew upon them. I am happy, but I would say it is a triumph for the entire police force. And the inspectors and sergeants who were in the final team did a wonderful job.
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