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Mrunal Manmay Dash

While the Odisha Crime Branch (CB) intensifies the interrogation of Sharmistha Rout and three others in the cameraman Manas Swain murder case, questions have been raised on the very efficacy of the investigation in the backdrop of allegations that the belated detection of the case could have erased the trail of many crucial evidence.

The questions which is expected to be ferreted out from the arrested accused during interrogation include, the actual reason behind murder of the Nayagarh cameraman, the whereabouts of the camera chip, the contents in the chip that prompted the diabolic plot and the ghastly murder that followed, and finally, the inability of the police in tracing the accused for a protracted period of nearly two months though none of them was a hardened criminal?

The CB obtained the custody of the four accused from Tuesday. As per reports, the four accused-- Sharmistha Rout, her associate Jhuna Bhoi, OIS officer Niranjan Sethi and the owner of Raj Communications Ranjan Nayak alias Raj-- are interrogated separately at the CB headquarters in Cuttack.

sources said what has emerged a real challenge for the interrogators is to uncover the murder mystery in the face of the lies and non-coperation by the accused during interrogation. It is but natural for the accused to try to put the police off tracks by weaving multiple versions and creating alibis until the latter prove them wrong by confronting them with evidence.

Former Odisha DGP, Sanjeev Marik told OTV, “The CB is going to question everything, from the memory chip to the murder of the deceased, before preparing the charge sheet.”

However, some people in the know of things raised questions over the efficacy of the investigation and custodial interrogation which commenced after a delay of nearly two months.

Criminal lawyer Manas Chand said, “It would have been better if the CB had taken Sethi on remand immediately after his arrest. It is already too late and I doubt if there is any evidence left to prosecute them.”

The doubts have been raised as there are many riddles which are yet to be solved which includes the funding of web portal Sampurna News run by Sharmistha, the names of political leaders associated with Sharmistha etc.

Sharmishta Rout, the prime accused in the sensational murder case of cameraman Manas Swai, was arrested by the State Crime Branch on Monday.

Along with Sharmishta, her associate Jhuna Bhoi had also been arrested from Nalanga area of Bhadrak district. The duo was arrested by joint teams of Bhadrak police and Crime Branch. Both Sharmishta and Jhuna were returning to Odisha from Kolkata in a bus when they were apprehended. Sources said Sharmishta had spent few days in Kolkata and Guwahati.

Meanwhile, a video has gone viral in social media platforms wherein Sharmistha can be seen arguing with Deepak, another cameraman and associate of the deceased Manas Swain. Sharmistha is heard discussing about the memory chip and an undertaking by Manas with Deepak in the purported viral video.

Though the authenticity of the video is yet to be verified, as per sources, the video was recorded on March 1, after the murder of Manas.

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