Odisha: HC relief to former Malkangiri Collector in PA’s death case

Bhubaneswar: In a major relief to Odisha cadre IAS officer Manish Agrawal, the Orissa High Court has ruled out his involvement in the mysterious death of his personal assistant (PA) during his tenure as Malkangiri Collector in 2019.

The HC pronounced the judgment by examining the postmortem report and other evidence in the case.

As per the case record, Debnarayan Panda, personal assistant to the then Malkangiri Collector Manish Agrawal, went missing from his office on December 27, 2019.

Panda’s body was recovered from Satiguda dam in Malkangiri the next day. The police had initially registered a suicide case and later an unnatural death case in connection with Panda’s death.

However, Panda’s wife alleged that he might have been murdered since he was aware of the alleged involvement of the Malkangiri district Collector and others in cases of corruption.

Panda’s wife had filed a case in this regard at the court of Malkangiri Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate (SDJM).

As per the direction of the Malkangiri SDJM, a murder FIR was lodged against Agrawal and three others. The Odisha Police had also launched a CID-Crime Branch probe into the incident.

Challenging the Malkangiri SDJM order, Agrawal had moved the Orissa HC. Advocate Ashis Mishra was pleading the case in the HC on behalf of the Odisha cadre IAS officer.

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