Odisha rights body, victim’s family hail CBI probe into custodial death

Reported by Santosh Jagdev

Bhubaneswar, Aug 27:

Human Rights Front (HRF) today welcomed the Odisha High Court order asking the Superintendent of Police (SP) of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Bhubaneswar to probe the alleged custodial death of an accused Kuldeep Mohapatra in the Saheed Nagar police station on June 5, 2012.

Photo: Biswaranjan Mishra
Photo: Biswaranjan Mishra

The Court further directed the Central agency to submit a report on the cause of death of the accused within four weeks.

Speaking to media persons here today, Manoj Jena, member of HRF welcomed the Court order that was delivered by a bench of judges headed by Justice Akshay Rath on August 18.

“This was the first time a court has ordered a CBI inquiry into a custodial death case in the state,” he said.

According to reports, the accused, Kuldeep Mahapatra, had died hours after his arrest on June 5, 2012 on charges of impersonating a police officer in Saheed Nagar area by the local police.

Later, Mahapatra’s family had alleged that he died due to brutal beating in custody. His family had sat in protest in front of the DCP’s office here to demand the immediate suspension of then IIC of Saheed Nagar police station Alok Jena.

The day after the incident, city police had suspended two assistant sub-inspectors Banamali Das and Giridhar Patnaik of Saheed Nagar police station for dereliction of duty  and had announced a magisterial inquiry into the alleged custodial death of Kuldeep. Later, the IIC was removed from the Saheed Nagar police station.

On the same day, the Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) took suo moto cognizance of the alleged custodial death and asked the DCP to submit a report within seven days.

The victim’s father, Rabindranath Mahapatra, also expressed satisfaction over the CBI inquiry ordered by the court.

“Now that the court has ordered a CBI inquiry, I hope that I will get justice,” Mahapatra said. “I have full faith on the CBI officials and I am sure they will find out the truth in the incident and charge the responsible persons involved in the case.”

Maintaining that the death of his son took place under mysterious circumstances, he held the then IIC responsible for the torture that led to his son’s death.

“After failing to get any justice from the State Government machinery and its police I, with support from HRF activist Mohanty, had filed a writ petition in Odisha High Court in October, 2012 praying for a CBI inquiry,” he said.


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