Chronicling Maharathi resignation

Bhubaneswar: It was January 7,2012. The media splashed stories about the fight for life the gang rape victim and reported that efforts were made to kill the woman as well. The victim who had appealed for justice in the State Commission for Women was first admitted to the Capital hospital in Bhubaneswar and then shifted to the SCB medical in Cuttack.

Several questions were raised by both the media, civil society and opposition parties. Was there any effort to suppress the truth and why the Pipli police was reluctant to register the FIR though the incident had taken place on November 28?

The crime branch was asked to conduct an inquiry into the sensitive incident. The chief minister too ordered a judicial probe and retired justice P K Mohanty was appointed as the head of the commission. The matter went to the Human Rights Commission and finally to the Odisha High Court.

The first axe fell on the then IIC of Pipli police station and he was transferred to the Puri reserve office. But on the basis of the report of the district superintendent of police, A K Chamaptiray was alter suspended.

But that did not quell the protest against Pradeep Maharathi. The oust Maharathi campaign instead became stronger. The opposition started baying for Maharathi blood. The left parties too joined with the Congress and the BJP in the opposition. Their common target was Pradeep Maharathi. The joint refrain was that Maharathi had tried to influence the police. The civil society too joined the protests. Civil society members met the victim in the SCB and also went to her village.

The PCC president Niranjan Pattanaik met the victim and also raised the issue with the National Commission for Scheduled Castes in New Delhi. The matter too was picked up by the National Commission for Women. The issue also echoed in New Delhi. The demands were common. That the investigations should be handed over to the CBI and Maharathi must go.

Chief minister Naveen Pattanaik returned from New Delhi on Tuesday evening. On Wednesday he announced that the decision on the Pipli MLA would be taken very soon. Finally the curtains were brought down on Thursday morning with the resignation of Maharathi.                    

Meanwhile, with the police today nabbing Abua alias Sukant Pradhan of village Paparanga, named in the FIR filed in connection with the November 28, 2011 rape incident, all four accused have now been arrested.