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Odisha Court takes exception to the sluggish police probe in Mahanga double murder case

The Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) court in Salipur expressing strong displeasure over the non-submission of Case Diary has directed the Mahanga police to appraise the court of the steps taken with regard to the fresh investigation against law minister Jena.

SNS | Bhubaneshwar |

A court in Cuttack district has taken strong exception to the slow pace of progress of police investigation into a double-murder case, in which Odisha law minister Pratap Kumar Jena is an accused.

The Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) court in Salipur expressing strong displeasure over the non-submission of Case Diary has directed the Mahanga police to appraise the court of the steps taken with regard to the fresh investigation against law minister Jena.

“Police have preferred to maintain silence without moving an inch to initiate further investigation. The collection and preservation of Detail Call Record (CDR) from December 2020 to February 2021 is very much vital for investigation”, the JMFC court in the latest order dated 18 November stated.

It is found that till date, the Inspector-in-charge Mahanga police station has not submitted any case diary or report intimating the court about the action taken in pursuance to the court’s order on 25 August.

Therefore the IIC Mahanga is directed to take immediate step for collection and preservation of Call Detail Record of material persons as directed and intimate this court about the action taken by him in pursuance to the order dated 25/8/2021 and also submit the up-to-date case diary, the Court ruled.

The court directed the police to collect and preserve the CDR of material persons namely Bapi Biswal, Sarat Nayak and the deceased Prafulla Biswal for a period between December 2020 February 2021. Besides, police were directed to collect CDR of all accused and obtain certificates as per 65-B of Indian Evidence Act.

It is pertinent to note here that the JMFC court had earlier ordered a fresh investigation against law minister Jena in a case of murder of two BJP leaders ten months back in Mahanga police station area in Cuttack district.

The court’s order had come in the wake of protest petition filed by Ramakanta Baral, son of one deceased BJP leader Kulamani Baral.

Kulamani Baral, former Mahanga Block chairperson and senior BJP leader brutally hacked to death along with his associate Dibyasingh Baral in Nrutanga village in Cuttack district on 2 January this year.

The opposition parties- BJP and Congress had earlier alleged the minister Jena’s involvement in the double murder case and had demanded his arrest under section-302 (murder). The minister’s alleged involvement in the murder case had also rocked the State assembly and had triggered statewide furore.

“A thorough investigation is required in the light of the allegations by the informant in the protest petition against Pratap Kumar Jena. Therefore, the Inspector-in-charge Mahanga police station is directed to take up further investigation of the case as expeditiously as possible and submit a report in accordance with section 173 (8) of Criminal Procedure Code (Cr. PC)”,  the Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) Salipur ordered in a ruling on 25 August last.

The complainant Ramakant Baral had filed a First Information Report (FIR) against 13 persons including the minister Jena. However the local police while filing the charge-sheet of the much-publicized murder case had dropped Jena’s name from it. The investigating officer acted in partisan manner and was pressurized by the minister, who is a powerful minister in the State cabinet, alleged the protest petition earlier filed with the JMFC.