Dilip Kumar

Cuttack: The Orissa High Court on Thursday directed the Sarpanch at Laxmiprasad village in Nayagarh district, Soumya Ranjan Pradhan, to seek protection from Superintendent of Police (SP) within 15 days time.

The direction of the court came in response to a petition filed by Pradhan seeking protection after an audio tape containing his purported conversation with Odisha Minister Arun Sahoo went viral in the backdrop of the public outcry over Pari murder case.

While disposing off Pradhan’s petition, the court directed him to submit an application before the Superintendent of Police (SP), Nayagarh detailing the apprehension on his life within 15 days.

The Court said that the SP would initiate steps within 7 days following the receipt of the application if there were threats on Pradhan’s life. If not, the application would be disposed off.

"The writ petition is disposed of directing the petitioner to file a detailed representation before the Superintendent of Police, Nayagarh within 15 (fifteen) days from today. If such representation is filed, the same shall be disposed of within a week from the date of its filing. It is made clear that, if there is any threat perception so far as the petitioner is concerned, immediate steps be taken by the S.P, Nayagarh," the court stated in its order.

Pradhan had filed a petition in the HC seeking protection to him and his family as he continuously received threat calls. He made six individuals including State Agriculture and Higher Education minister Arun Sahoo, Home Secretary, Director General of Police (DGP), Nayagarh Collector, SP and Inspector-In-charge of local police station parties in the petition.

Pradhan had earlier alleged that Minister Arun Sahoo had used the police in pressurising to keep distance from the Pari murder case.

Pradhan said “I have been receiving threat calls ever since I went vocal about the Pari murder case. If anything happens to me or my family, Minister Arun Sahoo will be squarely be responsible,” His statement came two days after his purported audio conversation with Minister Arun Sahoo went viral on social media.

Pradhan had also backed Paris’ prents who accused Babuli Nayak, a close confidante of Arun Sahoo, of murdering Pari which is a part a kidney racket allegedly run at the behest of Nayak.

Pradhan’s move came a few hours after he opened up on the alleged threats he has been receiving ever since he started getting vocal in the sensational Pari murder case.

Pari, a five-year-old girl from Jadupur village in Nayagarh district, had gone missing on July 14 and her skeletal remains stuffed in a gunny bag were recovered from the backyard of her house nine days later.

The gruesome murder grabbed State-wide attention after the bereaved parents of Pari, auto rickshaw driver Ashok Sahu and his wife Soudamini attempted self-immolation in front of the State Assembly.