Former Vice Chancellor of Sambalpur University, Dr. Dhrubraj Naik was hacked to death in front of his home in Jharsuguda district on Sunday morning, police said. He was 83.
The defendant Pravin Dharwa alias Rimit (20) was arrested for murder.
According to preliminary investigations, Naik filed an FIR a month ago against Dharwa and his family members for illegally attempting to capture his pond in his home village of Sargidihi under the Laikera police station. Dharwa was arrested and later released on bail.
“Naik owns two ponds in his ancestral village. He had leased the ponds to some families in the village for three years for 120,000 rupees. The lease ended at the beginning of the year and he wanted to renew the contract. But the defendant and his family had refused to give up the pond, claiming it was theirs now. 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 15,000 rupees on the previous case as legal expenses that Naik was supposed to repay. “He went to his home to ask for the money,” said Dash.
Naik’s son-in-law Swapan Naik said: “I was home when the defendant came with an ax … My father-in-law was not home. Dharwa asked my mother-in-law for money, but we didn’t know the context. “
Minutes later Naik came and asked Dharwa to leave. When Dharwa kept asking for money, Naik left the house to make a phone call. Dharwa followed him outside, there was an argument, whereupon he held Naik by the neck and attacked him with an ax, the police said.
Naik was hospitalized but succumbed to his injuries.
Dharwa was caught after a two hour police search in the jungle near the village. He was charged under IPC Section 302 (murder).
Naik joined the Odisha Education Service in 1962 and was a lecturer in zoology at Utkal University, a position he held until his retirement in June 1998. Shortly thereafter, he was named Vice Chancellor of Sambalpur University for three years and completed his term in July 2001.