Odisha cops intensity probe into mysterious death of Rourkela Asst Collector

Bhubaneswar: A probe team of Odisha police, led by a DSP-rank officer, has intensified investigation into the death of Rourkela Assistant Collector Sushmita Minz.

As part of the investigation, the team visited the pond inside a sensory park in which the assistant collector was found dead under mysterious circumstances on September 19.

The team led by DSP Banita Majhi along with forensic experts visited the pond inside the sensory park and collected details including the depth of water.

The team earlier visited Hotel Radhika Regency in Udit Nagar area of Rourkela and sealed the room in which the Assistant collector had stayed for a few days prior to her death. It also collected details on people who had checked into the hotel on or before September 19, sources said.

“We have seized CCTV footage from the hotel and the missing complaint lodged by deceased Assistant Collector’s brother at Udit Nagar police. The statement of the Assistant Collector regarding her unwillingness to return to her Rajgangpur home was also seized as part of the probe,” said the DSP.

The DSP further revealed that an Additional SP-rank officer is supervising the investigation.

“The probe team has three Sub-Inspector-rank officers and one IT expert. We are looking into all angles in connection with the case,” added the DSP.

Sources, meanwhile, claimed that the probe team may question Sushimita’s husband in connection with the case.

Sushmita (35), a native of Rambahal area of Rajgangpur in Sundargarh district, was appointed as the Assistant Collector of Rourkela around 18 months ago. She was looking after issues related to land acquisition.

Sushmita, an ORS officer, got married a few months ago but she was staying in her Rajgangpur home. She used to travel to her workplace at the ADM office in Rourkela.

Sushmita, however, did not return home on September 16 on the plea that she had an emergency meeting at the ADM office.

Her brother Sandeep had lodged a missing complaint with Udit Nagar police in Rourkela on September 17 after he failed to trace her at the ADM office.

On the same day, police traced Sushmita to Hotel Radhika Regency near Rourkela railway station.

On being informed by the police, Sandeep and his mother reached the hotel to enquire about Sushmita’s wellbeing. Sushmita, however, refused to return home, sources said.

Later, Gurundia BDO and CDPO informed Sushmita’s family that she was suffering from severe mental depression. Her body was found floating in a pond at the sensory park in Rourkela at around 3 pm on September 19.

The Plantsite police in the Steel City recovered the body and sent it for postmortem after registering an unnatural death case in this regard.

The postmortem suggested that Sushmita had died due to drowning. Sushmita’s brother Sandeep, however, alleged that she has been murdered by some influential people.

He alleged that Sundargarh Collector, Rourkela ADM, Gurundia Block Development Officer, Gurundia Child Development Project Officer (CDPO) and a woman Sub-Inspector of Odisha Police were behind Sushmita’s death.

The deceased Assistant Collector’s family had sought a CBI probe into the incident.

Subsequently, Rourkela SP formed a team led by DSP Banita Majhi to conduct the probe.

Meanwhile, Naba Kumar Saraniya, Lok Sabha MP from Kokrajhar constituency in Assam, has also sought a CBI probe into the incident.

The parliamentarian alleged that the death of the Assistant Collector was an incident of pre-planned murder. He also sought the intervention of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in this regard.

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