Sharmili Mallick

Bhubaneswar: In a major development into the investigation of the abduction and murder case of a five-year-old Nayagarh girl, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on Saturday picked up one Saroj Sethi from Jadupur village in the district.

Sources said the investigation team also took Sethi's mother and sister reportedly for a health checkup at the hospital.

Worth mentioning, Saroj Sethi Friday accused the head of the SIT, Arun Bothra of offering him Rs 5 lakh to own up the crime.

Sethi, a resident of Jadupur village in Nayagarh district, had accused Bothra of offering him Rs 5 lakh to admit to the crime and take the blame on himself. He has said he is not guilty and is being falsely implicated in the case.

Speaking to media, Sethi had said, “The reason why they (SIT) are doubting me is the fact that Pari had come to our house a day before she was abducted. They (probe team) collected my blood and saliva samples and clothes from our house. As I am 18 years old, Arun Bothra offered me Rs 5 lakh to take the blame citing that they would reduce my age and make it 17 to prove that I am a juvenile which will limit the charges against me and also the jail term.”

“I am not guilty. I am in no way involved in this, I do not know anything,” reiterated Saroj.

If anything happens to me or my family, Arun Bothra will be held responsible, the youth said.

The SIT chief Arun Bothra is yet to respond to the allegations.

Later in the day, the Odisha police sought to term the accusations made by Saroj Sethi that he had been offered Rs. 5 lakh by SIT chief Arun Bothra to own up the alleged kidnapping, rape and murder of 5-year-old Nayagarh girl, as ‘baseless’.

READ | Pari Murder Case: Cash For Crime Allegations Against Bothra Baseless, Says Odisha Police

It is to be noted that the SIT in its preliminary inquiry report submitted before the Orissa High Court on Wednesday reportedly stated that five-year-old girl Pari was sexually assaulted before being murdered. It further said the prime motive of the murder was rape and that it was confirmed from the semen stains found on the clothes of the deceased girl.