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Pradeep Pattanayak

The Superintendent of Police (SP), Bhadrak, Charan Singh Meena on Tuesday sought to dismiss allegations that the police were ‘under pressure’ in the cameraman Manas Swain murder case as a result of which the investigation is moving at a tardy pace.

“We are not under pressure. We are putting the best of our efforts to nab absconding accused Sarmistha Rout and her associate,” Meena said, apparently trying to clear the air.

He said the Bhadrak police had summoned Sarmistha twice to a police station and let her go after formal quizzing.  When asked why the police allowed her to go, Meena said her involvement had not been established by then. “We had called her twice to a police station and questioned her as well. Her involvement in the case surfaced only after the arrest of three accused and subsequent recovery of the cameraman’s body,” he said.

Regarding the memory chip/card, which is said to be the reason behind the murder, Meena said it is yet to be traced.

Earlier in the day, the case witnessed two significant developments. While the Orissa High Court rejected the anticipatory bail plea of Sarmistha, the deceased cameraman’s wife accused Odisha Ministers Pratap Jena and Dibya Shankar Mishra of involvement in her husband’s murder. 

Meanwhile, sources privy to the investigation said that the police have no plans to seek the custodial remand of retired Odisha Information Service (OIS) officer Niranjan Sethi and, another accused, Raj Nayak.

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