Rashmi Rekha Das

Despite getting a clean chit from Odisha Crime Branch in a case pertaining to the death of Deba Narayan Panda, who used to be the personal assistant of former Malkangiri collector Manish Agrawal, the Sub-divisional Judicial Magistrate (SDJM) court has decided to once again begin hearing of the case involving Agrawal.

The Court has directed Agrawal to appear before it personally during case hearing.

It is worthwhile to mention that Debnarayan Panda, personal assistant to Manish Agrawal, former district collector of Malkangiri, had gone missing from his office on December 27, 2019. His body was later recovered from Satiguda dam in Malkangiri town and his motorcycle and helmet were found lying near the dam the following day. 

Though police had initially registered a suicide case and later an unnatural death case, Panda’s wife Banaja brought murder allegations against the former collector.

Banaja had moved the SDJM court in Malkangiri seeking lodging of a case of murder against IAS officer Agrawal and three others.

Later, Crime Branch launched an investigation into the case and gave a clean chit to the then Malkangiri collector. The investigating agency made it clear in its report that Panda had died by suicide and Agrawal had no involvement in his death.

Displeased with the probe report of the Crime Branch, the SDJM Court of Malkangiri has decided to begin hearing of the case again and directed Agrawal to depose before it personally during the hearing.

Agrawal presently works as deputy secretary of the Planning and Convergence Department.

Reported by Jitendra Beura, OTV