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Sandeep Sahu

By Sandeep Sahu

On the face of it, there is little reason to doubt the veracity of the SIT narrative on what exactly happened to Nayagarh minor girl and how on that fateful day of July 14, 2020.

The fact that there are not too many buyers for SIT chief Arun Bothra’s version of events cannot be a ground to dismiss it as a cock-and-bull story. The FIR lodged against the SIT chief by the mother of the accused can be dismissed as an outpouring of motherly love. Even the fact that Nayagarh minor girl’s parents have given a clean chit to Saroj Sethi, the youth arrested and charged with the murder of the five-year-old girl of Jadupur village in Nayagarh district, does not prove anything. The recovery of minor girl’s leggings from the pond on Tuesday certainly lends credence to the SIT story.

It is preposterous to think that the SIT would be foolish and foolhardy enough to frame a college student in a rape and murder case without ample evidence just to shield someone when the Orissa High Court, the NCPCR and the media are fully sieged of the matter. It is equally ridiculous to think that an officer like Mr. Bothra would stake his reputation earned over two decades of stellar work by trying to sell a fictitious story - not just to the people of the state, but also to the High Court! And a state government would certainly not shoot itself in the foot by getting the police to do something like this.

Having said that, Mr. Bothra’s elaborate account of the ‘whys’, ‘hows’ and ‘wheres’ of the grisly incident leaves several questions unanswered, not the least of them why then rape angle never emerged before? In his reply in the Assembly during the winter session, Minister of State for Home Dibyashankar Mishra had categorically ruled out rape as a possible motive for the murder. The MoS could not have said that without the rape angle being investigated and found untrue. If the SIT could trace the semen stains on the minor girl’s frock five months after she was killed, why couldn’t Nayagarh police do the same? Local police, after all, had possession of the frock all along, didn’t it?

The second major question relates to the remains of the minor girl’s body recovered in a sack from near a pond in the village. The minor girl was killed on July 14 and her skeletal remains were found on July 23. How could the body decompose and be reduced to just a few – not all, mind you – bones in a matter of nine days without anyone getting wind of it? If the body was left rotting for nine days, the stench would have been unbearable. How come no one got a whiff? The pond is not exactly a remote and abandoned place, is it?

The third question flows from the second. Is it not possible that while the SIT version of who killed the minor girl and why is true, an organ racket got into the act after she was killed and harvested her organs? The fact that several parts of her body, including the kidneys, were missing in the remains recovered by police on July 23 certainly points to such a possibility. And in his press conference on Tuesday, Mr. Bothra himself has revealed that Saroj had confessed his crime before two persons, one of whom had recorded – both in video and audio form - the conversation. Is it not possible that the video/audio reached persons running an organ racket who then decided to make a killing without actually killing anyone? Has the SIT explored – or at least planned to explore - this possibility?

Mr. Bothra, of course, has said the investigation is still on. One can only hope that the SIT gets to the bottom of the matter and comes out with the truth – the whole truth and nothing but the truth, even if goes against the popular narrative!

(DISCLAIMER: This is an opinion piece. The views expressed are the author’s own and have nothing to do with OTV’s charter or views. OTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same)

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