Paralakhemundi ACF Death Case: Family Moves High Court, Seek CBI Probe

Cuttack: Abhiram Mohapatra, father of deceased Paralakhemundi Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF) Soumya Ranjan Mohapatra today moved the Orissa High Court demanding a CBI or a High Court-monitored Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe into his son’s death.

Abhiram has alleged that the investigation has not been satisfactory even after a lapse of 81 days since the occurrence of the incident.

The DG Police, ADG Crime Branch, CBI and Home Secretary have been made parties in the petition.

“A video has surfaced which shows on the day of occurrence of the incident, IIC Bibekananda Swain and OIC Mamata Rani Panda collected some articles from that house. We suspect the role of Odisha Police. Neither Odisha Police nor the crime Branch can deliver justice to us. So, therefore, we are applying to the High Court for a CBI enquiry,” said Abhiram Mohapatra to reporters after filing the petition.

Abhiram alleged that the Crime Branch has made no efforts to arrest Bidya Bharati (deceased Soumya Ranjan’s widow), Gajapati DFO Sangram Keshari Behera and cook Manmatha Kumbha despite him lodging FIR against them.

“The government is also involved in this case. The Forest department is involved in this case. What are they investigating for the last 81 days? We demand an enquiry by the CBI, otherwise, we are being deprived of justice,” alleged Abhiram.

Abhiram’s legal counsel Parthasarathi Nayak said that the deceased ACF’s family was not satisfied with the investigation by the State Police and subsequently by the Crime Branch from day one.

Nayak alleged that the police have been dilly-dallying in the matter.

“Abhiram’s suspicion over the Odisha Police further gained strength following the surfacing of a video in which IIC Bibekananda Swain and Mamata Panda are seen collecting some material from that house which has not been mentioned in the seizure list,” stated Nayak.

He said that Abhiram believes that since the investigating agencies have been suppressing several facts, they have killed his son in a planned manner.

The Crime Branch which had conducted polygraph tests (lie detector tests) of Soumya Ranjan’s wife Bidya Bharti Panda Gajapati DFO Sangram Keshari Behera and of cook Manmath Kumbha has received the test reports.

Deceased ACF Soumya Ranjan had been rescued in a critical condition with severe burns from his official quarters in Parlakhemundi on July 12. He succumbed to his injuries on July 13 while undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Cuttack while undergoing treatment.

The report of the autopsy of Soumya Ranjan’s body by the Department of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology (FM&T), SCB Medical College & Hospital stated that the death of the officer was caused due to 95% burn injuries.

As per the FIR lodged Soumya Ranjan’s father Abhiram at Paralakhemundi Police Station, the DFO Sangram Keshari Behera allegedly had an illicit relationship with his son’s wife Bidya Bharati.

He has alleged that his son was killed by his daughter-in-law Bidya Bharati in connivance with DFO Behera and cook Manmath Kumbha.

Following the registration of the FIR, police had launched an investigation into the ACF’s death.

While the then Gajapati SP Tapan Patnaik had given a clean chit to the DFO, the probe was handed over to the Crime Branch on August 14 following public outcry.

Later, the probe was handed over to a four-member team of the Crime Branch led by DSP Gyana Ranjan Mishra who took up a fresh investigation into the case and has been interrogating all the persons, directly or indirectly, involved in the case.


Abhiram Mohapatra, Father of deceased Soumya Ranjan Mohapatra

Parthasarathi Nayak, Abhiram's legal counsel