The mystery surrounding the death of Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF) Soumya Ranjan Mohapatra continues to deepen with a forensic science team reportedly finding no evidence that could back the theory that a fire incident had occurred in his official quarters that subsequently led to his death.
“The quarters was opened on Friday in the presence of police, an executive magistrate and a scientific team using a key that was in possession of the Divisional Forest Officer (DFO). The circumstantial evidence in the house indicates that no fire had occurred inside it,” Soumya Ranjan’s father’s lawyer Parthasarathi Nayak said.
“The quarters was closed since July 12, the day Soumya Ranjan reportedly suffered burn injuries. Therefore, there must have been some foul smell of burning of human flesh in the quarters. However, we found no stench in the house when it was opened,” Nayak added.
The lawyer further said if the fire incident occurred in the quarters, it must have spread to other articles given the fact that the victim had suffered 90 per cent burn injuries. However, all the articles in the quarters were found intact.
“We only found some burnt clothes on the floor. It implies that Soumya Ranjan was burnt somewhere else and then shifted to his quarters. There must be involvement of multiple persons in the act,” the lawyer alleged.
While carrying out searches of the quarters, the scientific team collected some handwritten notes.
Two days back, the police had questioned the young forest officer’s cook Manmath Kumbh, who was present at the quarters when the alleged fire mishap occurred. However, DFO Sangram Keshari Behera against whom a murder case has been registered is yet to be questioned.
It is reminded here that 32-year-old Soumya, who had married six months back in December 2020, suffered 90 per cent burns at his quarters at Parlakhemundi in the night of July 11. He succumbed during treatment at a private hospital in Cuttack two days later.