Police say Odisha forest officer"s death accidental, family seeks CBI probe

  • | Friday | 8th October, 2021

Cuttack, Oct 8 (PTI) Forest officer Soumya Ranjan Mohapatra"s death was "accidental" and his wife was not involved in it, the Odisha Police said on Friday, nearly three months after the incident rocked the state.Mohapatra (30), who was posted as the Assistant Conservator of Forests (ACF) at Paralakhemundi in Gajapati district, was rescued with over 90 per cent burn injuries on July 12 from his official quarter. He succumbed to the injuries at a private hospital in Cuttack the next day.However, the police could not state how the fire broke out at the official quarter.The State Crime Branch investigated the matter with a focus on his dying declaration and found the death was accidental, a senior police officer said.No one, even his wife Bidyabharati Panda who was present at the quarter when the fire broke out, was involved in the death, said Sanjeeb Panda, the Additional Director-General of Police (Crime Branch).Discrediting the complaint made by Mohapatra"s family, the police gave a clean chit to Bidyabharati, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Sangram Keshari Behera and cook Manmath Kambha, saying the investigation, including polygraph tests, did not find their involvement.The police officer also rejected the allegation that Bidyabharati and Behera were in a relationship and had hatched a plan to kill Mohapatra, who reportedly had exposed corruptions by the DFO."The couple shared a bitter marital relationship," the police officer said.Although Bidyabharati was present at the spot, she did not come to her husband"s rescue nor called for help, he said.The forest officer"s mother Tulasi Mohapatra said she was not satisfied with the Crime Branch"s probe and demanded a CBI investigation into the death. PTI CORR AAM SOM SOM

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