The police on Friday subjected Gajapati Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Sangram Behera to intensive questioning in connection with the mysterious death of Paralakhemundi Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF) Soumya Ranjan Mohapatra.
As per reports, the DFO was brought from his residence to office at Paralakhemundi at around 11 am amid tight police security.
Later, investigating officer (IO) of the case and Paralakhemundi IIC Bibekananda Swain, along with Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) Ramakrushna Pati went to Behera’s office and questioned him.
A three-member Crime Branch team, led by DSP Bijay Kumar Mallik who was also present at the DFO’s office, said, “The IO is questioning the DFO. We are assisting the Paralakhemundi Police in the investigation.”
Since the questioning was underway till last reports came in, the exact details of the proceedings is yet to be known.
It may be noted that based on the online complaint of Abhiram Mohapatra, the father of the deceased, Paralakhemundi Police has registered a case against DFO Behera, Soumya’s widow Bidya Bharati Panda and cook Manmath Kambha.
On the other hand, the police is likely to question OIC of Gurandi police station Mamata Panda, who happens to be the sister-in-law of Bidya, later in the day. She might be questioned over the abrupt stoppage of the ambulance carrying Soumya to the hospital after he allegedly sustained burn injuries. The ambulance had allegedly been stopped midway by Panda without any valid instructions.
Speaking to OTV, Soumya’s cook Manmath Kambha, who has been named in the FIR, said that he had rescued Soumya on the fateful day.
“At around 9.30 pm I heard screams of Bidya madam seeking help. I immediately rushed to the spot and found ACF Sir on fire and lying on the ground. I doused the flames by throwing a bucket of water on him and told madam to call an ambulance. I asked madam how the incident occurred, but she feigned ignorance saying she was unaware about the source of the fire. However, I could smell kerosene when Sir was in flames,” stated Manmath.
Soumya was rescued from his government quarters in Paralakhemundi with around 90 percent burn injuries on the night of June 11. He was taken to a private hospital in Cuttack for treatment where he succumbed to his injuries the next day.