BALANGIR: Three Government officials have been detained by Balangir Police in connection with the suicide of contractor Markanda Rath. A month after Rath committed suicide on September 11 leaving behind an eight page suicide note, police have converted the unnatural death case into a criminal case under Section 306 of IPC (Abetment of suicide).
Informing this on Monday, Balangir SP Ashish Singh said local Executive Engineer of Rural Development Department, Bibhudendra Meher; Assistant Executive Engineer of the department Bijan Kumar Jena and Junior Engineer Gayadhar Muduli have been detained for interrogation.
Contractor Jagdeep Bansal, who was detained by Airfield Police in Bhubaneswar on his arrival from Kolkata on Sunday night, was brought here by Balangir Police on Monday. Based on their interrogation, further course of action will be taken.
Rath’s daughters Seema Rani and Smita Rani had accused contractor Bansal; SDO (Irrigation), Balangir, Shankarshan Panda and the three officials of the department of being responsible for their father’s suicide. They had urged the SP to bring the accused to books.
The suicide note mentioned that Rath had taken up construction of two roads - from Hardatal Chowk to Badhanghor and Salepali Chowk to Baghala - on sub-lease from Bansal, a Kantabanjhi-based contractor. The value of the two works was estimated at `2.5 crore.
The note claimed that the Irrigation SDO had allegedly brokered the deal with Bansal at five per cent of the total value. It also says that Rath had paid `12.5 lakh to Panda after the latter allegedly assured him that he would get back his security and other statutory deposits which were made in advance.
However, after completion of work, he did not get any money. Accusing Bansal and Panda of cheating him of `42 lakh, the suicide note maintained that Rath not only sold everything he possessed but also raised money from open market at high rate of interest to complete the work. With the payments not coming his way, he was forced to take to the extreme step, the suicide note mentions. On the other hand, Bansal claimed innocence in the incident and said he never knew Rath.