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Sharmili Mallick

Former Odisha Director General of Police (DGP) Prakash Mishra has come down heavily on the Northern Range DIG Deepak Kumar for the latter’s ‘unwarranted’ interference in the Mamita Meher murder case probe.

“He (Kumar) has no locus standi in the Mamita Meher murder case probe. The place where the murder took place does not even fall under his jurisdictional area,” said Mishra, who is also a senior BJP leader, on Monday.

On Saturday, Kumar had claimed that the police investigation into the sensational Kalahandi teacher murder case was on the ‘right track’. Kumar’s apparent attempt to give a clean chit to the Bolangir police in the middle of the probe surprised many as it came at a time when the Opposition parties have upped the ante for the removal of the MoS (Home) Dibya Shankar Mishra for his alleged links with the main accused in the case, Gobinda Sahu. Moreover, Kumar’s clarification came hours after senior BJP leader Bijoy Mohapatra accused the police of dragging its feet over the probe in an apparent attempt to shield the main perpetrators of the horrific crime.        

Meanwhile, Mishra, during a briefing to media persons at Bhubaneswar, said he would like to raise his concerns over two aspects of the investigation into the murder case wherein the interference by the Northern range DIG was unwarranted.

“To begin with, the case has been registered with the Bolangir Police and the concerned district police is investigating it. However, the school where the victim was working, the allegations of flesh trade in the school and the recovery of her body from the stadium… all happened in Kalahandi district,” stated Mishra.

He said earlier, the National Commission For Women (NCW) had summoned the Bolangir SP and sought a report in connection with the case. However, the SP told the NCW that he cannot intervene as the case did not come under his jurisdiction. “I want to point out that since all the incidents took place in Kalahandi, the case does not fall under the jurisdiction of Northern Range (Sambalpur) DIG. The case actually comes under the South Western (Koraput) DIG. Therefore, the officer (Northern Range DIG) has no authority to give remarks in the case,” former DGP pointed out.

Targeting the State government for not handing over the case to the Crime Branch of Odisha Police, Mishra said, “It was evident from the first day that incidents related to the murder case took place in two districts. The Crime Branch should have taken over these types of cases as jurisdictional issues are bound to crop up with police stations. The government’s attempt to deny a fair probe is evident as it has not handed over the investigation to the Crime Branch so far,” said the State’s former top cop.

Reacting to Mishra’s accusations, BJD MLA Ashwini Patra said if the former had any doubts over the police investigation, he should raise it ‘in other forums’.

“There are many forums in the country to raise questions. Discussions are even held in Parliament to disengage judges. The issue will be sorted out following a review if the case falls under the jurisdiction of the Northern Range DIG,”said Patra.

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