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Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha police on Friday sought to term the accusations made by a youth 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 ‘Pari’, as ‘baseless’.

The police clarification came a day after Saroj Sethi, a resident of Jadupur, the village where Pari lived with her parents before she disappeared on July 14 this year, on Thursday alleged that the police was trying to use him as an alibi to ‘fix’ him in the crime which he never committed. He alleged that the intention of the police was to somehow manage a breakthrough in the case with a view to save their image in the face of the massive public outcry.

Meanwhile, claiming that no stone will be unturned to ensure justice for Pari, the Odisha Police in a release said, “The case is being monitored by the Orissa High Court and the SIT keeps reporting the progress and findings to the court.”

Sethi on Thursday had claimed that the reason behind the police’s doubt on him was on account of the fact that Pari had visited his home a day before she went missing.

“They (probe team) collected my blood and saliva samples and clothes from my house. As I am 18 years old, Arun Bothra offered me Rs 5 lakh to take the blame assuring that they would reduce my age to 17 in the case papers to show me as a juvenile which will help in reducing the quantum of punishment and also the jail term.”

Reiterating that he had no involvement in the crime, Sethi told reporters, “I am not guilty. I am in no way involved in this, I do not know anything.”

In its clarification following Sethi’s claims, the Odisha police, in the press note, said “The SIT has been diligently working out clues and a large number of people have been examined in the process. Moreover, significant progress has been made and the entire village has extended cooperation in the investigation.”

It continued, “However, such unfounded allegation by one person have been used to cast aspersions on the investigation agency. It may end up demotivating officers who are sincerely working to unearth the truth. It is both unfortunate and unethical,” the press note read.

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