Soumya Ranjan death: A year on, justice still eludes kin of Paralakhemundi ACF

Balasore: The much-debated death of Assistant Conservator of Forests (ACF) Soumya Ranjan Mohapatra still remains murky even after a year past the incident, which has not been resolved yet.

Soumya’s family hardly believes that the fire mishap was an accident and not a case of murder. Despite running from pillar to post, the young forest official’s family members did not get justice, his elderly parents lamented on the occasion of first death anniversary.

“We observed Soumya’s death anniversary and performed necessary rituals yesterday at our residence located at Beguniapada village under Khaira block of Balasore district. The day was his day of demise as per the Tithi,” the victim ACF’s father Abhiram and mother Tulasi expressed.

The elderly parents, their relatives and Beguniapada villagers still shed tears by remembering the noble soul. Influential people in the State government as well as police administration have succeeded in fowl management of the murder case, Abhiram and Tulasi alleged.

“We have complete faith on the judiciary and demand a fair probe to be conducted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The process of investigation conducted by State probing agency was not at all satisfactory,” the ACF’s father Abhiram said.

It is pertinent to mention, ACF Soumya had died on July 13, 2021 at his government residence located at Paralakhemundi town of Gajapati district under mysterious circumstances. His body got burnt to an extent of 90 per cent in the inferno, supposedly which was an accident.

The ACF’s father Abhiram had lodged an FIR alleging involvement of Soumya’s wife Bidyabharati Panda, erstwhile Gajapati Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Sangram Keshari Behera and cook Manmath Kumbha. The family had then suspected the role of former Forest Minister Bikram Keshari Arukha.

Abhiram had written letters to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and many others.

Based on the FIR, Paralakhemundi police had launched the probe, but did not arrest any of the key accused persons. Subsequently, the case was handed over to Crime Branch.

At last, the file was closed mentioning that it was an apparent case of fire mishap. The case is sub-judice in Orissa High Court, Cuttack.

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