• otv
Rashmi Ranjan

Intensifying its probe into the mysterious death of Paralakhemundi assistant conservator of forest (ACF) Soumya Ranjan Mohapatra, the Odisha Crime Branch on Monday conducted the lie detection test of deceased officer’s wife Bidya Bharati Panda.

According to sources, the investigating team conducted the test at the State Forensic Science Laboratory in Bhubaneswar. Bidya Bharati who is one of the accused in the case was put to dozens of questions to find out under what circumstances the young forest officer died.

It is believed that the forensic team may have asked Bidya Bharati about her relationship with Mohapatra, marriage agreement, her acquaintance with another accused DFO Sangram Keshari Behera among other questions.

Earlier on September 18, the probing team had conducted lie detection test of DFO Behera and the cook at the ACF’s quarters Manmath Kumbha, who also figures as an accused in the FIR.

During the narathon polygraph test which lasted for around three hours, Behera was asked at least 100 questions in connection with the case.

Soumya Ranjan Mohapatra, an ACF rank officer at Paralakhemundi had sustained serious burn injuries at his official quarters on July 11. He succumbed while being treated at a private hospital in Cuttack a day later.

The case was initially probed by the Paralakhemundi police, however as the police however failed to make any breakthrough even after over one month of the probe triggering serious backlash from all around, the Odisha Crime Branch took over the investigation of the case. During the period so far, more than 14 people including the DFO, Bidya Bharati who are related to the case have already been quizzed by the CB.

The polygraph test assumes significance amid repeated demands for arrest of the DFO by the family members of the deceased who alleged his direct involvement in the tragic death of the young officer. 

The family members have also named Bidya Bharati Panda, the widow of Soumya Ranjan, as a co-accused in FIR they have lodged at the Paralakhemundi police station following the mysterious death of the officer.

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