Mrunal Manmay Dash

Archana Nag, the alleged mastermind of the sensational sextortion racket, has put the Bhubaneswar police under scrutiny after her statement in court.

Serious questions were raised about the conduct of Police after Nag revealed that she was subjected to mental harassment for straight 60 hours inside the Balianta police station.

As per her allegations, the Police picked her up, blindfolded and gagged her before whisking her to the Balianta police station where she was not even allowed to speak to anybody and did not know her crime.

Nag was furious coming out of the court where she was sent to a 7-day ED remand. Venting her anger at the police, Nag said, “I came to know about the complainant and all the allegations against me only after coming to the jail following 60 hours of inhuman detention at Balianta Police Station. Even my parents were not allowed to meet me during the detention.”

It is pertinent to mention here that the matter first came to the fore after renowned film producer Akshay Parija lodged a complaint against Archana Nag and her associate Shradhhanjali at Nayapalli police station on October 29 for allegedly blackmailing him and demanding Rs 2 crore.

However, even before the police could do anything about it, Nag’s associate, Shradhhanjali lodged another FIR at Khandagiri police station in Bhubaneswar on November 2 against Nag, her husband Jagabandhu Chand and associate Khageswar Patra.

Following Shraddhanjali’s complaint, the Police sprang into action and charged the trio under 16 different sections. While Nag was arrested immediately, Jagabandhu and Khageswar were let go after a brief questioning by the police. Despite charging all with the same sections, it is alleged that the police arrested Jagabandhu after many days and never cared to arrest Khageswar; but not for long. Khageswar, who was spared by the Odisha police earlier, was nabbed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) immediately after taking the charge of the investigation.

Many unanswered questions like- why the police didn’t act upon Akshay Parija’s complaint, who had accused Shradhhanjali, acted immediately after the same Shradhhanjali leveled allegations against Nag; why Shradhhanjali is not arrested or questioned yet; and if any criminal conspiracy is proved during ED’s investigation, will the local police help the Central agency?

Senior lawyer Sourachandra Mohapatra said, “The initial probe by the Odisha police was not going anywhere. Most probably, the police were trying to hide something. She (Nag) has questioned the probe and conduct of the Commissionerate police, which is a grave matter if you take it seriously.”

Asked about the apprehensions, Bhubaneswar DCP Prateek Singh said behind the camera that they are probing the case as per the law.

It has been said that there are 18 MLAs, three Ministers and numerous senior bureaucrats involved in the sextortion case or allegedly trapped by the Nag couple. The police were initially tight-lipped on the case. So much so that, Commissioner of Police Saumendra Priyadarshi turned his back on the media immediately as they asked the first question about Nag.

As the ED has taken Nag’s remand, all eyes will be on the Central agency when it produces her in Court on December 13.

(Reported By Bibartan Panda, Chandan Paikray & Alok Mohanty, OTV)