Vikash Sharma

With mystery still shrouding the death of Paralakhemundi assistant conservator of forest (ACF) Soumya Ranjan Mohapatra, the Crime Branch on Saturday said that Gajapati DFO Sangram Keshari Behera and deceased officer’s wife Bidyabharati Panda will be subjected to lie detection test, if required.

A four-member team of the Crime Branch led by DSP, Gyanaranjan Mishra today recorded the statement of DFO Sangram Keshari Behera after subjecting him to questioning for over three hours.

“Today, we summoned the DFO for questioning and he admitted that he was present at the spot when the dying declaration of the deceased officer was recorded. The DFO, however claimed that he didn’t have any clue what the doctors were writing,” said Mishra.

Mishra further said that the DFO denied charges of having relationship with Bidya Bharati or harassing the deceased ACF by giving him extra work, as alleged by the family members of the deceased officer.

“We will soon examine Bidya Bharati and others. Only after completing the questioning of people relevant to the investigation, we will proceed further,” Mishra added.

When asked about today’s questioning, DFO Sangram Keshari Behera told reporters that he wasn’t present at the spot when the doctors recorded the dying declaration of the deceased ACF.

Earlier, the family members of the deceased officer had levelled serious allegations against the DFO accusing him of having played a role in the death of Soumya Ranjan.

The Director General (DG) of Police, Abhay had ordered a Crime Branch probe into the ACF death case following demands for a CBI probe made by different quarters. This was subsequent to the inability of the Paralakhemundi police to make any headway after registering a murder case on the complaint of the deceased’s family.

Earlier on Friday, the Crime Branch had earlier recorded the statement of Mamata Panda, the officer in-charge of Gurandi in Gajapati district in connection with the case investigation.

Prior to that, several others including the three doctors at Paralakhemundi Hospital, who had attended to Soumya Ranjan after he was charred under suspicious circumstances on the night of July 11, were quizzed by the Crime Branch sleuths.

Paralakhemundi Tehsildar Achyutananda Jani, who recorded the dying declaration of Soumya Ranjan, was also questioned by the Crime Branch team on Wednesday for about an hour.

On the night of July 11, Soumya had been taken to the Paralakhemundi DHH with over 90 per cent burn injuries. He was later shifted to a private hospital at Cuttack where he succumbed to the injuries the next day.