Crime Branch Begins Fresh Probe Into Odisha ACF’s Death

Paralakhemundi: The Crime Branch on Saturday began a fresh investigation into the death of Assistant Conservator of Forests (ACF) Soumya Ranjan Mohapatra on the direction of Director General of Police (DGP) Abhay.

A three-member Crime Branch team led by DSP Gyana Ranjan Mishra, an Inspector and a sub-inspector arrived at Paralakhemundi and held a meeting with the IIC of the Town Police Station Bibekanand Swain.

Later, the team accompanied by a six-member scientific team comprising a chemist, fingerprint specialists and fire service personnel went to the official residence of the deceased ACF for an on-the-spot investigation.

Briefing the media after more than two-hour investigation, the DSP said the Crime Branch will interrogate DFO Sangram Keshari Behera, cook Manmath Kumbha and wife of the deceased ACF Bidyabharati Panda, if necessary.

“Apart from this, the Crime Branch will bring the people named in the FIR filed by the family members of the ACF under the purview of its investigation,” he added. The team has sealed the official residence of the ACF.

Reacting to the Crime Branch probe, Ranjan Mohapatra, elder brother of the deceased ACF said as Bidyabharati and the cook were involved in the death of his brother, the investigating agency should conduct their custodial interrogation.

“We have no idea how Soumya sustained severe burn injury on the night of July 12 as we were not present there. Since Bidyabharati and the cook were present at his official residence, they should know. Even as Soumya sustained 95% burn injury, his wife did not make any effort to save him. Instead of informing us, she called the Gurandi OIC,” he said.

Ruling out the suicide theory, Ranjan said as his brother had gone on a fire-fighting training to Coimbatore last year, he could have saved himself if he caught fire inadvertently.

“When the incident took place at 9 pm, why my brother was kept in Paralakhmundi till 12.30 am? Why was he not taken to Visakhapatnam which was nearer to Paralakhemundi? Besides, how the police came to know that my brother will die and recorded his dying declaration without the presence of his family members,” Mohapatra asked.

He further said the Crime Branch will never get the evidence until the Paralakhemundi DFO and the woman OIC of Gurandi police station Mamata Panda are placed under suspension.

Meanwhile, the Paralakhemundi IIC, who was the Investigating Officer (IO), has been replaced as the Crime Branch began a full-scale probe.

Also Read: No Breakthrough Yet, Odisha Crime Branch To Conduct Fresh Probe Into Paralakhemundi ACF’s Death


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