Former judge Sarat Chandra Mohapatra dead

Bhubaneswar: Justice S C Mohapatra, a former judge of Odisha and Allahabad High Courts who headed the Commission probing the 2008 riots in communally sensitive Kandhamal district, died here on Saturday following a brief illness.

79-year-old Mohapatra served as a judge of Odisha High Court from April 1984 to April 1994. Thereafter, he was appointed as a judge of the Allahabad High Court.

Mohapatra had also functioned as Chairman of the State Administrative Tribunal in Odisha. Known for his impeccable track record in delivery of justice, the legal luminary was appointed as the Lokpal in Odisha in 2003 and continued in the position till 2008.

Mohapatra subsequently headed the judicial commission constituted by Odisha Government to probe the violence that rocked Kandhamal district in the aftermath of the killing of senior VHP leader Laxmanananda Saraswati in August, 2008. The probe was still in progress by the Commission of inquiry.

Several dignitaries including Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Chief Justice of the Orissa High Court V Gopala Gowda visited his residence here to pay their last respects.