Bhubaneswar/Jajpur: An auto-rickshaw driver was found hanging from a tree on the premises of Binjharpur MLA and former minister Pramila Mallick’s official residence at Unit VI in Bhubaneswar on Sunday morning.
Though prima facie it appeared to be a case of suicide, City Police was waiting for the post-mortem report to ascertain the exact reason.
Surendra Rout (35) was a native of Binjharpur and a longtime supporter of Mallick. He was a regular at the legislator’s official quarters.
Rout’s body was spotted in the morning by some residents of the house who intimated Mallick. “When I came to know about the incident, I informed the Capital police station as well as the family members of Rout and took the body to Capital Hospital,” Mallick said.
Although the quarters is allotted to Mallick, it is mostly used by party workers and supporters from her constituency since she stays at her own residence at Jagamara in Bhubaneswar.
A background check by the police revealed that Rout was accused of molesting a woman and setting her house on fire in an area under Binjharpur police limits two years ago and was out on bail.
Preliminary investigation suggested that Rout had apparently agreed to a reconciliation proposal by the opposite party in the molestation case wherein he was asked to pay `3 lakh to the victim so that the latter does not pursue the case. He was under severe stress over arrangement of the cash.
The former minister said Rout drove auto-rickshaw in the City and used to stay overnight at her official quarters for at least four days every week for the last 10 years. However, he never discussed about the criminal charges that he was facing until his brother informed her.
“I was never informed about it nor did Rout ever mention about his need for money. If he or his family members had confided, I could have arranged legal aid for him,” Mallick said.
After post-mortem, Rout’s body was taken to Binjharpur. A case has been registered on the basis of the report of his brother, who also stays in the City.