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Ramakanta Biswas

Bhubaneswar: Alleging lapses in probe into the death of Haridaspur Panchayat Executive Officer (PEO) Smitarani Biswal, Congress leaders including OPCC chief Niranjan Patnaik today staged a dharna near Raj Bhavan seeking Governor's intervention in the matter.

The OPCC chief alleged that efforts are being made to cover up the murder as a suicide and let Rupesh Bhadra, the prime accused in the case, scot-free.

"If the lady PEO had planned to commit suicide, why she had gone to the guesthouse? Someone might have called her to the guesthouse where something happened following which she committed suicide," Patnaik alleged.

"As the accused belongs to the ruling party, there is conspiracy to protect him," he added. He further said the involvement of political parties in the case needs to be investigated thoroughly.

The party submitted a memorandum to Governor Ganeshi Lal demanding a CBI probe into the case. Congress' women wing leader Bijay Laxmi Sahoo said, "We do not have faith on the police investigation and demand a CBI probe. Besides, the investigation process should be monitored by a sitting judge of the High Court."

Refuting the allegations, State government chief whip Pramila Mallick said, "The police are not covering up the case. If they do not have faith on the State government or police investigation, why we should believe in CBI probe?"

On the other hand, a delegation of the State unit of BJP led by Leader of Opposition Pradipta Kumar Nayak is scheduled to visit Haridaspur tomorrow. The team will hold discussions with the family members of Smitarani and other villagers.

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