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Dilip Kumar

Nayagarh: The newly appointed Odisha in-charge of BJP, D Purandeswai on Thursday lashed out at the BJD-led State government for ‘protecting’ Agriculture Minister Arun Sahoo whose alleged role in the abduction and killing of five-year-old Nayagarh girl, ‘Pari’, has come under the scanner.

During her maiden visit to Odisha following her appointment as the new State in-charge of the party, Purandeshwari, a former Union Minister, on Thursday visited Jadupur, the native village of Pari in Nayagarh district and met the victim’s bereaved parents to offer her condolences.

Purendeshwari took stock of the progress of the investigation into the case by holding discussions with the family members and neighbours of Pari. She lambasted BJD Minister Arun Sahoo, saying “the person shielding the accused in the dastardly murder of the little girl needs to step down first. If he doesn't do so, the Chief Minister should act promptly against him."

Coming down heavily on the Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted by the State government to investigate the case, Purendeshwari questioned the very locus standi of the team, headed by senior IPS officer Arun Bothra.

"The SIT and its head have no judicial powers. So, how can it investigate such a sensational case? It is not only a matter of the brutal murder of a minor girl, but also there is an involvement of organ smuggling racket in the case", she added.

She said her party always stood by the grief-stricken family of the victim and will continue its fight until the minor child and her parents get justice.

Earlier on Wednesday night Purandeswari arrived in Bhubaneswar on a three-day tour of the State. On Thursday morning she drove straight to Jadupur as Pari murder issue was on top of her itinerary. She was accompanied by BJP State president Sameer Mohanty, General Secretary Lekhasri Samant Singhar, Prithviraj Harichandan, Irani Roy and other State leaders.

Three days ago, party leader and former Odisha DGP Prakash Mishra had raised serious doubts over the sincerity of the government in investigating the case by constituting a SIT with Arun Bothra as its head. He said Bothra being the MD of Odish State Road Transport Corporation (OSRTC) has no police powers. How can he investigate the brutal murder without a police power, he questioned while demanding a CBI probe into the heinous crime.

The State government had also proposed that the probe by the SIT into the case would be monitored by the Orissa High Court.

It is pertinent to mention here that Pari had reportedly gone missing while playing near her house at Jadupur village in Nayagarh district on July 4 this year. Almost 10 days later, her skeletal remains stuffed in a gunny bag were traced to the backyard of her house.

The matter triggered massive public outcry after her parents attempted self-immolation in front of Odisha Assembly building during the Winter Session last month. The couple had accused Minister Arun Sahoo of shielding the prime accused Babuli Nayak.

Opposition parties had also created pandemonium in the House during the winter session of the Odisha Assembly over the issue, forcing the Speaker to close the session abruptly.

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