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Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has found several discrepancies in the primary investigation conducted by Odisha Police in the alleged kidnapping and subsequent rape and murder of Pari, the five-year-old girl from Nayagarh district whose skeletal remains were found almost 10 days after she went missing from her village in the month of July this year.

Raising doubts regarding the legitimacy of the probe by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) led by senior IPS officer Arun Bothra, the Commission has recommended the Odisha government to conduct a probe by any central agency for an unbiased and objective investigation.

The Commission has also recommended the State government to take strict measures including disciplinary action against the investigating officers for dereliction of their duty and for conducting a poor and flawed probe which caused delays in tracing out the girl before she was found dead.

The child rights watchdog, during its inquiry, has observed many glaring loopholes in the primary probe conducted by the police, starting from not recording the statements of the parents after the body of the girl was found and conduct of their polygraph test without probing into the correct facts in the matter.

"When such serious discrepancies are present in the preliminary investigation then it becomes difficult to rely on the subsequent investigation that would be undertaken by the SIT as well," the NCPCR said in a letter.

The Commission issued the letter on the basis of a complaint filed by BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra on November 30 alleging erroneous investigation in the Pari murder case by Odisha government.

The NCPCR has clarified that it doubts the legitimacy of the investigation as it is also based on the incomplete facts in the Action Taken Report (ATR) submitted before it by the SP and Nayagarh Collector during a hearing last month.

"In the ATR, the SP and District Magistrate had failed to provide the information regarding the person being suspected as the accused in the case and then subsequently misleading the Commission during the summon hearing by informing that the suspected accused had surrendered before the Court," the Commission's letter read.

The NCPCR has also taken serious note of misleading facts and submissions made before it.

"It is important to reiterate here that the investigation by the SIT in this case based on the preliminary investigation of the police authorities would jeopardize the chances of probing into the true and correct facts in the case and seeking justice in this matter of death of the minor girl," the letter added.

Speaking on the development, BJP spokesperson Sabmit Patra said, "The NCPCR is not satisfied with the action taken report (ATR) submitted by the district collector and SP. The commission wants the whole investigation to be handed over to a central agency as it believes that the SIT, probing the case, can not establish the truth."

Meanwhile, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) today picked up Pari's neighbour Saroj Sethi, his mother and sister from Jadupur village. Recently, Saroj had alleged that SIT chief Arun Bothra had offered him Rs 5 lakh to take the blame of killing Pari.

On the other hand, the parents of Pari questioned the action of SIT. "They should have arrested those whom we had named in our complaint. Instead, they picked up Saroj Sethi. Why Babuli Nayak has not been arrested yet. It indicates that the probe agency is acting under the pressure of the minister."

Lekhasri Samantsinghar, general secretary of the State BJP unit, also hit out at the State government over the SIT probe. She questioned whom the SIT is shielding and why the State probe agency is not taking the role of minister Arun Sahoo under the purview of its investigation.

She further alleged that attempts are being made to suppress the case by using SIT as organ smuggling racket is linked to the crime.

“Whom does the Odisha Police DG trying to save by telling lies? The BJD is the centre-point of the crime which is a case of kidnapping, child trafficking and organ trading,” she alleged.

The reactions of BJD, SIT and DGP on the allegations of Lekhashree could not be obtained.

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)

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