Opposition Suspects Foul Play In Lady PEO Death, Seeks High Level Probe

Bhubaneswar: Hours after Jajpur Police arrested Haridaspur sarpanch’s husband Rupesh Bhadra for being involved in the death of Smitarani Biswal, the in-charge executive officer of local panchayat and termed their ‘illicit’ relationship as reason behind the incident, the Opposition political parties cornered the ruling-BJD and alleged the police of crafting a triangular love story to settle the matter.

The BJP has sought a CBI probe into the incident suspecting it to be a case of rape and murder. Alleging that Jajpur SP is advocating for arrested Rupesh Bhadra, BJP leader Lekhashree Samantasinghar said, “Police is carrying out less investigation and doing more politics. It is clear that that the SP is trying to influence the investigative officer. Police have stoop so low that it has even disgraced a departed soul.”

At a presser in Bhubaneswar, senior BJP leader Prakash Mishra Saturday alleged that from circumstantial evidence it is suspected that the lady PEO Smitarani Biswal was murdered after rape.

There is no coherence in the statements of all those associated with her or present at the guest house, belonging to the husband of the local sarpanch, from where the body of Biswal was found hanging on October 16.

As per the statements of the husband of the deceased, there were some red spots on his wife’s legs and a ring was also missing. These facts were not initially mentioned in the inquest report and added after Biswal’s family raised these doubts.

“If the lady PEO committed suicide what were the circumstances that drove her to end life. A fact-finding team of BJP had visited the spot and discussed with family members and others. It is learnt that the lady officer was being pressurised to add false beneficiaries under rural housing scheme,” alleged Mishra.

Mishra further said an official of RAMCO cement frequented the guest house and the BJP team also found liquor bottles around the spot. The concerned official of RAMCO cement had strong links with an officer of Third Floor of Loka Seva Bhawan, Mishra added.

“We want a detailed probe into the incident. We have learnt that the probe has not been carried out properly as police is not going beyond what was told by the suspects. We are demanding immediate arrest of the suspects and transfer of case to CBI so that the truth comes out,” Mishra added.

Odisha Congress too has sought State Women Commission and Human Rights Commission’s intervention into the case. Shortly after Jajpur Police’s media briefing, the party unit alleged that intentional attempts are being made to suppress the real reason behind the death of the lady PEO by giving it a colour of triangular love story.

The SP’s press meet clearly indicates how police is trying to settle the case as soon as possible so that it is not forwarded for a higher level probe.

However, BJD has said that the Opposition should not politicise such a sensitive case. “At a time when police probe is still underway and the final verdict is yet to arrive, other parties should refrain from making such comments,” said BJD Spokesperson Sasmit Patra.

The lady PEO was found hanging inside a room of a guest house which belonged to local sarpanch’s husband on October 16. The officer reportedly had left home to dispute pension among beneficiaries and later had called her family members to seek information about her daughter. However, the family members were initially given contradictory information that Smitarani Biswal had fallen sick.

Biswal’s husband had earlier demanded a detailed probe into the death of his wife.

“My wife cannot commit suicide. There were no differences between us or any other family members. My wife was being mentally harassed for not allowing corruption and pressurised to keep mum,” said Sushil.