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Devbrat Patnaik

Bhubaneswar: In a major turn of events in the Pipili gang rape and murder case of 2011, the Bhubaneswar Additional District Judge today acquitted prime accused Prashant Pradhan and his brother Sukant due to lack of evidence against them.

While three accused Prashant Pradhan, Guna Swain and Premananda Nayak were arrested one by one in January, Sukant was nabbed by the Crime Branch sleuths from Kahanrapur area near Pipili after a week of their arrest. All the accused were booked under Sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 307 (attempt to murder), 376 (rape), 506 (criminal intimidation) of IPC and Section 3 of SC, ST (Prevention of Atrocity) Act in connection with the case.

The victim, then a 19-year-old girl from Arjungoda of Pipili in Puri district, went into coma after being allegedly gang raped on November 28, 2011. She was found unconscious and semi-naked in a paddy field in her village. After remaining in coma for over six months, the girl died at SCB hospital in Cuttack in June  2012.

"The girl, who was already in a very critical state, died following septicaemia and severe respiratory and cardiology complications," Dr B N Maharana, the then Emergency Officer of the SCB Medical College and Hospital had said.

Though the incident occurred in November 2011, the victim was admitted to Capital Hospital on January 9, 2012 from where she was later shifted to SCB hospital on January 11, following an intervention by the High Court.

As per reports, the crime branch police had filed four charge sheets against eight people, including a dismissed police inspector and three doctors before a court in Pipili.

It is to be noted that the state government had earlier dismissed the then Pipili IIC Amulya Champatiray from his job in connection with the incident, but the Orissa High Court later upheld the Administrative Tribunal (SAT)’s verdict on his dismissal, clearly stating that without initiating departmental proceedings no government employee can be dismissed.

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