Pradeep Pattanayak

The Odisha unit of Congress on Sunday came down heavily on Jagatsinghpur superintendent of police (SP) and Abhaychandapur inspector-in-charge (IIC), holding the officials responsible for the alleged custodial death of a youth. 

Manoranjan Gedi was picked up by the personnel of Abhaychandapur police station in connection with a narcotics case and died later under mysterious circumstances on Saturday. Gedi’s family members attributed his death to custodial torture. 

Drawing a connection between the present death and a similar case occurred at Baseli Sahi police station in Puri district on November 19, 2020, Congress spokesperson Nishikanta Mishra said the incumbent Jagatsinghpur SP Akhileswar Singh and Abhaychandapur IIC Jeebananda Jena were then the Puri SP and Baseli Sahi police station IIC respectively at the time of the incident. 

At Baseli Sahi police station, K Ramesh had allegedly died while in the police custody. 

“The Abhaychandapur police station incident can be described as a rerun of Baseli Sahi police station incident. Had exemplary punishment been handed out to the IIC and SP then, one more case of custodial death could have been averted,” Mishra said. 

Gedi’s family alleged that the police had informed them that his death occurred in an accident. They smelled a rat as police not only took the body to the Jagatsinghpur DHH instead of Paradip but also conducted the post-mortem hastily at night. 

The deceased’s father asserted that his son had never been involved in any criminal activity. “What led us to believe it to be a case of custodial death is that there was blood on his nose while both his ears had swelled up,” he alleged.