Itishree murder: Ex BJD MP questioned by CBI

Rayagada: Former Koraput MP and BJD leader Jayaram Pangi was reportedly questioned by the CBI in connection with the sensational Itishree Pradhan case here today.

According to reports, the former Lok Sabha member was summoned for questioning by the central probe agency to its camp office at the Circuit House here.

Even after spending nearly four hours with the investigating officials, the ex-parliamentarian denied the report of his interrogation.

“The CBI has not questioned me. I went there to take rest and waited for my family members as I was on my way to Berhampur. But, some people from my own party are jealous of my popularity and are trying to defame me” Pangi said adding that he will fully cooperate the probe team in the investigation.

On the other hand, the statement of the former lawmaker before media seems incredible as CBI DSP MK Pathak has camped in the same building, which remained locked for over four hours. The officials have camped here for 5th phase of the investigation in the case.

The main accused in the case, the then SI Netrananda Dandasena, who was awarded life imprisonment by Rayagada District and Sessions Court recently, is a close associate of Pangi.

In her dying statement, Itishree had pointed fingers at everybody starting from the Chief Minister to other ruling BJD politicians, the Rayagada district administration and the police, holding them responsible for her tragedy.

She had also revealed that Dandasena, the main accused in the case, is Koraput MP Jayram Pangi’s “man” and no action could be taken against him due to the political patronage he got from him.

Itishree, a non-formal teacher with the Upper Primary School at Tikri in Rayagada, was set on fire by an unidentified miscreant in the school premises on October 27, 2013. She succumbed to the injuries at a private hospital in Visakhapatnam on November 1.

The case had assumed significance since the lady teacher had accused Dandasena, the then School Inspector, of sexual and mental harassment. She also alleged apathy of local police and administration as Dandasena roamed scot-free and no action was taken against him.

When Itishree lodged an FIR with police, she came under intense pressure from the school inspector to withdraw the case. Following Itishree’s death, the State Government asked the Crime Branch to take up investigation.

The Crime Branch, which started investigation on November 1, 2013, submitted its chargesheet on February 22, 2014 and Dandasena was named as the only accused under Sections 302/109/120 (B) of the Indian Penal Code.

The case, which went on to grab national headlines, was taken over by CBI in 2015 following a Supreme Court order based on a petition filed by Sudipta Lenka, a Bengaluru-based law student.

The Crime Branch had handed over the case to the CBI to trace the man who had poured kerosene and set her on fire on the fateful night. However, the man is still at large.