Four persons were arrested today in connection with the alleged rape and murder of a widow at a village in Odisha's Dhenkanal district three days ago, the police said. The four, including the husband of the 45-year-old widow's niece, were arrested. The incident took place on the night of June 12 at Balikuma village under Kankadahada area, Dhenkanal Superintendent of Police, B K Panigrahi said. After preliminary investigation, the police found the four accused persons were involved in the incident, he said. Past enmity could be the motive behind the crime, he said. While Hari Patra (32), husband of the woman's niece, happens to be the prime accused in the case, the three other arrested persons were identified as Raghu, Sudarshan Lohar and Anand Patra, he said. The woman had lost her husband about three years ago and was alone when the accused persons entered her hut.
They allegedly raped the woman before killing her in a brutal manner, the police said, adding deep injury marks were found on the woman's body. It appeared that she had died due to excessive bleeding, the police said. Medical examination of the accused persons has been conducted. Meanwhile, opposition parties attacked the state government over the incident and alleged that the police was not handling the case properly.