BHUBANESWAR: The State Police issued in March a standard operating procedure (SOP) to expeditiously deal with missing persons in Odisha. It seems the districts forgot to take a look at it as would the Nayagarh minor murder case vouch.The SOP issued through the Crime Branch listed immediate steps to be taken after initiation of an enquiry or investigation.
In the circular, investigating and enquiry officers have been clearly instructed to find out the names of the possible suspects and interrogate them without any loss of time. Other immediate steps to be followed include examining of close relatives, friends, associates and others related to the missing person and to verify the facts and circumstances disclosed by them thoroughly.
The police officers were also directed to try and elicit information regarding the likely cause of disappearance of the missing persons and then work on those lines. They were also asked to examine all the persons having inimical terms with the missing person.
However, much of it was not followed in the Nayagarh case where the district police is at the receiving end not only for shoddy investigation but putting the family into inconvenience. The victim’s parents have alleged that police harassed them in the last four months and did not question the suspects despite their repeated pleas.
“Local police came to our house on July 23 night. Instead of consoling us and showing sympathy over the death of our only child, police held us responsible for the crime,” the girl’s father Ashok Sahoo had told the newspaper.
The police, he said, turned a deaf ear towards their repeated pleas of questioning those persons whom they suspected killed their daughter but rather they and their relatives were interrogated frequently.
Though the circular mentions that the IO/EO should remain in touch with the complainant to update him/her about the efforts being made by them and ascertain further clues, in Nayagarh, the police reportedly continued to ignore Sahoo and his wife following which they were forced to attempt self-immolation in front of the Assembly on November 24.
Recently, DGP Abhay suspended Nayagarh Sadar police station IIC Rinarani Sahoo, transferred SDPO Niranjan Padhi and posted him as Kandhamal DSP after NCPCR noticed glaring gaps in the police probe into the crime.