Pipili gang rape: Congress alleges justice denied to victim as BJD leaders turned hostile

Bhubaneswar: The Congress party today alleged that two leaders of the ruling-BJD, who were witnesses in the Pipili gang rape and murder case, changed their statements in the court due to which the victim did not get justice.

As per the charges levelled by Congress, BJD leader and witness Judhistir Swain, on April 20, 2012, stated before the Crime Branch that Prashant Pradhan of Poparanga village had been threatening to kill the victim if she did not marry him. Pradhan on November 29, 2011, had tried to strangulate the victim to death finding her alone, Swain had said in his statement before the investigating agency.

However, Swain changed his statement before the court on February 2, 2017 and said that he did not know anything about the incident, alleged Congress.

To support its claim, the Opposition party produced a document in a presser in Bhubaneswar today.

“In the court, Swain changed his statement and said that he didn’t know the informant, accused or the deceased,” Satya Prakash Naik, chairman of Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) media cell.

Similarly, Dharanidhara Sahu, who was another witness in the case, turned hostile in the court and presented a statement different than the one given before the Crime Branch, Naik added.

Swain, who was Pipili block Chairman then is now the vice chairman whereas Sahu is the Samiti member of the block, Congress claimed.

Responding to the allegations, BJD spokesperson, Sasmit Patra said, “Allegations levelled by Congress are baseless. We have faith on the legal system. As the matter will be decided by the court, the Opposition parties should refrain from making such statements.”

Experts said the demand for re-investigation into the Pipili gang rape and murder case will not be fruitful.
It is difficult for the investigating agency to gather data after so many days of the crime. “In my view, reinvestigation will not yield much result. If the government moves the HC also, it would get the concrete outcome. The reinvestigation into the case will be only an eyewash,” said a lawyer Dharanidhara Nayak.

The 19 year-old girl from Arjungoda of Pipili in Puri district was allegedly gang raped on November 28, 2011. After remaining in comatose state for over six months, the girl died at SCB hospital in Cuttack in June 2012.

On December 24, 2018, the Bhubaneswar Additional District Judge acquitted prime accused Prashant Pradhan and his brother Sukant due to lack of evidence against them.