Mystery Deepens: No Evidence To Suggest Odisha Forest Officer Caught Fire In Official Quarters

Paralakhemundi: The findings of the forensic science team have further shrouded the death of Paralakhemundi Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF) Soumya Ranjan Mahapatra in mystery.

According to sources, the team found no evidence that could back the fire mishap theory, leading to his death. Soumya was rescued in a badly burnt state from his official quarters on July 12. He had sustained over 80 per burn and succumbed to the injuries at a private hospital in Cuttack the following morning.

The police and scientific team initiated an investigation into his death in presence of his father Abhiram Mahapatra and family members at the government quarters on Friday.

“The quarters was closed since July 12 and the key was with the Divisional Forest Officer (DFO). The team could smell smoke inside the house but found no trace of inflammable objects that could have caused the fire,” Soumya Ranjan’s father’s lawyer Parthasarathi Nayak said.

He further said that fire had not spread to other articles despite the fact that the victim had suffered over 80 per cent burns.

The probe team only found some burnt clothes on the floor but no clue to establish that the forest official had caught fire inside the room. It collected some handwritten notes from the quarters.

“This implies that Soumya was burnt to death somewhere else and then shifted to his quarters. We suspect involvement of multiple persons in the incident,” the lawyer alleged.

The investigating team, however, did not divulge details of the ongoing probe and Additional SP Bamadev Singh declined to take any questions from the media.

Also Read: Odisha Bytes 10 Unanswered Questions That Could Unravel Odisha Forest Officer Death Mystery

Two days back, police had questioned the forest officer’s cook Manmath Kumbh, who was present at the quarters when the alleged fire mishap took place.

Gajapati DFO Sangarm Keshari Behera, who has also been booked for the ACF’s murder, will be grilled in a day or two. The deceased official’s wife Bidyabharati Panda will also be interrogated in this connection, the sources added.

Also Read: Odisha Forest Officer’s Death: Deceased’s Wife, DFO & Cook Booked For Murder

Soumya had married six months back in December 2020 and his family had earlier pointed accusing fingers at his wife, blaming her for his death. They had accused her of torturing her and having an extramarital affair.

Bidyabharati had refused the allegations and had described his death as an accident.

Also Read: ACF Soumya Death Mystery Deepens: Wife Tells Her Side Of The Story

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