ACF Soumya Ranjan Death In Odisha: Wife, DFO, Cook Summoned By Court

Paralakhemundi: Nearly two years after the the mysterious death of Paralakhemundi Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF) Soumya Ranjan Mohapatra, the SDJM court here has summoned wife Bidya Bharati Panda, DFO Sangram Keshari Behera and cook Manmath Kumbha in connection with the case.

The three have been asked to appear before the court of the Paralakhemundi SDJM in Odisha’s Gajapati district on April 27.

Hearing a petition filed by deceased ACF’s father Abhiram Mohapatra, the court directed the three to appear before it. Trial will be held in connection with murder and criminal conspiracy charges against them, sources said.

After studying the petition, statements recorded and other documents, the court felt that the allegations of murder and criminal conspiracy are worth trial. On this basis, the court issued summons and directed the three to appear before it.

It may be noted here that on the night of July 11, 2021, ACF Soumya Ranjan had sustained serious burn injuries while his wife was at home. He was admitted to the MKCG Medical College and Hospital in Berhampur with 90 per cent burns. Later, he was shifted to a private hospital in Cuttack where he succumbed to the injuries during treatment on July 13.

A day after the incident, on the basis of the family members’ allegations, Paralakhemundi police had registered a case of murder against the ACF’s widow Panda, DFO Behera and cook Kumbha under IPC Sections 302 and 120 (b). The case was subsequently probe by the Crime Branch

On October 8, 2021, Crime Branch gave clean chit to DFO Behera and cook Manmath Kumbh, but booked his wife Bidya Bharati under sections 304-A (causing death by negligence) and 285 (negligent conduct with respect to fire or combustible matter) of IPC.

It termed the incident as an ‘accidental death’ making it clear that Sangram Keshari Behera and Manmath Kumbh had no role in it. The Crime Branch reportedly said it found no evidence of relation between the DFO and Bidya Bharati during the probe.

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