DNA test revealed body remains were not of Mamita Meher: Govinda Sahu’s advocate

Bhubaneswar: At a time when the alleged suicide of Mamita Meher murder case accused Govinda Sahu in jail has sparked uproar, his advocate made a shocking revelation saying that the recovered body remains were not of the woman.

“The skeletal remains recovered by the police and sent for DNA test were not of Mamita. The test has confirmed it,” said Govinda Sahu’s advocate and senior lawyer Debashish Panda.

“The DNA profile of the body remains didn’t match with that of Mamita’s parents. The Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics, Hyderabad had earlier sent a report in this regard to the Balangir police,” he said.

“Govinda Sahu should have been released from jail after police received the report,” he added.

The Orissa High Court, while hearing the bail plea of Govinda Sahu on December 7, had directed the State Government to submit the forensic report and DNA test report.

On the other hand, official sources said the portion of femur bone seized from the scene of crime was sent to State Forensic Science Laboratory (SFSL) in Bhubaneswar. The SFSL report stated that some portion of femur bone was identified as that of biological daughter of Suchendra Meher and Tulasi Meher (Mamita’s parents).

“A small piece of burnt bone was seized from the spot. This piece of burnt bone was heavily damaged by temperature and no nuclear DNA could be extracted from it. Only some portion of mitochondrial DNA could be amplified which gave false negative response with reference to the mitochondrial DNA of Tulasi Meher as per the expert opinion. The expert witness opined that DNA is temperature sensitive, hence nuclear DNA could not be extracted and portion of amplified mitochondrial DNA gave false negative match with control mitochondrial DNA, due to damage by heat,” sources added.

The 55-year-old accused allegedly died by suicide in Kantabanji sub-jail on December 20. He was reportedly found hanging from a window behind the jail kitchen in the morning. He was scheduled to appear before the court of JMFC on the very day.

The Odisha Police has ordered a Crime Branch probe into his death.

The Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) took a suo motu cognizance of the incident and issued notice to Special DG, Prisons and Balangir SP seeking report within 15 days.

Preliminary probe suggested that he used towel to hang himself from the window, said Anusaya Jena, DIG, Prisons, Sambalpur Range. As trees have covered the backside of the jail, nobody could notice his extreme step, she added.

Jail warden Akshaya Mohanty has been placed under suspension for dereliction of duty.

The murder of 24-year-old Mamita Meher of Jharni village under Turekela block of Balangir district had sent shockwaves across the state. While Mamita was working as a teacher at the Sunshine English Medium School at Mahaling in Kalahandi district, prime accused Govinda Sahu was the managing committee president of the educational institution.

Mamita went missing on October 8, 2021. Alleging involvement of Govinda Sahu behind her missing, Mamita’s family members had lodged a complaint with police. On October 19, 2021, bones of Mamita’s body were exhumed from a stadium construction site of the school in the presence of police.

Govinda Sahu allegedly murdered Mamita, chopped off the body, set it on fire and dumped it under the ground. He also torched her bag, mobile phone and other belongings to eliminate the evidence.

Police said Mamita had warned Govinda Sahu to expose his extra-marital affairs, over which he strangled her to death inside his car on October 8, 2021.

Opposition BJP and Congress had demanded the resignation of the then Minister Dibya Shankar Mishra over his alleged links with the prime accused.

With the death of Govinda Sahu, the trial in the murder case will proceed with his driver Radhe Shyam Chandi who was arrested for allegedly helping him in disposing off the body.

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