BHUBANESWAR: After increasing public and political pressure for its lapses in the alleged gang-rape of a 19-year-old girl in a Pipili village, the Puri police on Sunday nabbed main accused Prashant Pradhan from Jatni.
Pradhan will be produced before the Puri SDJM court on Monday. The Crime Branch (CB) of Odisha Police, which is investigating the case, is certain to seek the accused’s remand. The Crime Branch had issued photographs of the four accused on Saturday seeking information from the public. A team of the CB is interrogating Pradhan, but he has not yet revealed anything, sources said. The Puri police’s swift action, however, has raised eyebrows since it was primarily responsible for the embarrassment the Government is facing in the entire episode.
Had the police registered the case basing on the complaint of the victim’s father on November 29 and initiated action, things would not have gone to such an extent. “After all the hullabaloo and criticism, the arrest appears orchestrated,” said an officer. However, the three other accused, Sukanta Pradhan, Purna Chandra Swain and Premananda Nayak, are still at large. The CB said efforts are on to nab them. Premananda and Purna Chandra were involved in another molestation case in 2008 in which the 19-year-old girl was a key witness.
While the Pipili police registered a case after the OHRC direction on January 9, the CB also lodged one on January 10. The CB will submit a status report before the Orissa HC on Monday.