Two more get bail in Kandhamal rape case

Cuttack: Two more persons were granted bail on Monday by Odisha High Court in the much-hyped crime branch police investigation into the sensational Kandhamal nun rape case of 2008.

Pandit Kumar Bismajhi and Jatia Sahu arrested by crime branch sleuths on two separate days in June 2010 for alleged involvement in the case were granted bail by Justice C R Dash.

The accused persons shall furnish bail bonds of Rs 30,000 and two sureties each of like amount before the concerned lower court, the High Court said adding the lower court may also impose any other condition (s) it deems fit while executing the bail bonds.

It may be mentioned here that investigating into the case, the crime branch police have filed chargesheets against at least 30 persons. While only 22 persons have now been arrested till date by the investigating police, 17 of them have managed to obtain bails.

Among the five remaining now facing trial in a lower court here, three have not preferred to move their bail while bail applications of other two, including the key accused Mitu Patnaik were rejected by the High Court.

The 29-year-old Baliguda Catholic Church nun was allegedly assaulted and raped on August 25, 2008 in Kandhamal district during the communal riots which erupted in the aftermath of Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Laxmanananda Saraswati murder case. The VHP leader was killed along with four of his disciples by at least 20 armed intruders inside his ashram on the evening of August 23, 2008.

However, two months after the incident, the nun came out in public in October 2008 for the first time recounting her experience and demanded a CBI probe into the incident, accusing police of being "friendly" with attackers. Her plea before the Supreme Court was, however, rejected when the Apex Court did not feel it wise to hand over the case to CBI and suggested the victim to cooperate with the State police.

It was on the nun’s insistence; the trial of the case was shifted to Cuttack district sessions court from Phulbani district court by the order of Orissa High court. Although, the trial proceedings in the lower court here is scheduled to resume next month after about a lay off of about four months, the tardy investigation by the crime branch police may come for embarrassing questioning.