Odisha ACF’s Death: Crime Branch Grills Gajapati DFO, New Video Clip Under Scanner

Paralakhemundi: Intensifying its probe into the death of Assistant Conservator of Forests (ACF) Soumya Ranjan Mohapatra, the Crime Branch on Saturday began the interrogation of DFO Sangram Keshari Behera.

A four-member Crime Branch team led by DSP Gyana Ranjan Mishra began grilling the DFO at the police guesthouse inside the Paralakhemundi police station this morning.

Notably, the family members of Soumya had named the DFO in the FIR, alleging that he and the ACF’s wife Bidyabharati Panda were behind his death. They also accused the DFO of having an illicit relationship with Bidyabharati.

While the DFO had earlier denied his complicity in the death of the ACF, a video clip has surfaced in which he can be seen with the two doctors and tehsildar-cum-executive magistrate Achyutanand Jani at the district headquarters hospital (DHH). It is believed that the video was shot when the dying statement of Soumya was being recorded at the DHH.

On the night of July 12, Soumya was rescued with over 90 per cent burn injuries and was admitted to the DHH where his dying statement was recorded. He was then shifted to a private hospital in Cuttack where he succumbed the following day.

On being asked about the video clip, the DSP refused to divulge any details saying the investigation is underway.

Earlier on Saturday, the Crime Branch had interrogated the OIC of Gurandi Police Station Mamata Panda for more than three hours.

Although the OIC did not give the details of the interrogation to the media, the Crime Branch DSP said that Paralakhemundi SDPO Ramakrushna Pati had directed her to go to the spot.

She visited the district headquarters hospital at 9 pm on July 12 to know about the treatment of the ACF on humanitarian grounds, he added.

Also Read: Viral Video Of DFO Adds Another Twist To Odisha ACF’s Death; CB Reveals IOC’s Role

The statement of the Crime Branch DSP contradicts that of the former SP of Parakhemundi Tapan Kumar Patnaik, who on July 21 had told the media that there was no departmental order for the OIC to come to district headquarters on the night of July 12.

During her stay in Paralakhemundi town, the Gurandi OIC was with Bidyabharati till the ambulance van left for Cuttack with Soumya.

Also Read: Odisha ACF’s Death: Crime Branch Crosschecks Witnesses’ Statements With Local Police

After detaining the ambulance van for more than 15 minutes in front of the main gate of the Forest Office, the OIC had gone to the quarters of Soumya and returned with some articles wrapped in a red cotton towel.

After the interrogation of the DFO, the Crime Branch is most likely to bring Bidyabharati to Paralakhemundi for interrogation.

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