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'Crucial' clues in ACF death case, claims Odisha Police

The investigating team questioned the institute’s director about the party which Bidya had hosted for her friends on April 11.

Published: 23rd July 2021 09:25 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd July 2021 09:25 AM   |  A+A-

ACF Soumya Ranjan Mohapatra with his wife Bidya Bharati.

ACF Soumya Ranjan Mohapatra with his wife Bidya Bharati.

By Express News Service

BERHAMPUR/BHUBANESWAR /BALANGIR: Even as the mystery over the death of Paralakhemundi Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF) Soumya Ranjan Mohapatra is turning murkier with new revelations coming to the fore every day, Southern Range DIG Satya Brata Bhoi on Thursday claimed that police have obtained crucial leads which will help in the investigation process.

After visiting Soumya’s quarters, Bhoi said the Paralakhemundi police team, which recorded statements of family members of the ACF and his wife Bidya Bharati Panda, has stumbled upon vital leads in the case.

“Investigation is going on from all angles and allegations leveled by the ACF’s family will be given importance. All the accused in the case will be questioned,” he said.

On the day, Crime Branch DSP Bijay Kumar Mallik along with the investigating officer (IO) of the case and Paralakhemundi SDPO searched Soumya’s quarters. After inspecting the premises, Mallik said the fire mishap took place inside the quarters as a plastic mosquito net installed over the skylight had melted and a portion of the back door burnt. Some remnants of burnt clothes were also found in the house.

A Crime Branch team also visited the Livestock Training Centre at Balangir where Bidya was a student. The investigating team questioned the institute’s director about the party which Bidya had hosted for her friends on April 11. 

Police sources said call detail records (CDRs) of all the persons against whom Soumya’s family members have leveled allegations will be checked. Apart from Bidya, Gajapati DFO Sangram Behera and cook Manmath Kambha have been named in the FIR lodged by the ACF’s family.

Bidya’s CDR will help in verifying the allegations about her relationship with the DFO. “The DFO will be questioned soon. He will be asked about his official terms with Soumya and if he knew Bidya personally,” said a police officer.

Meanwhile, one more handwritten note of Bidya has surfaced indicating that she wanted divorce from her husband. In the note purportedly written by Bidya, the woman has penned down her emotions seeking divorce from the ACF desperately. 

“Oh God, help me to get divorce anyhow,” the note read. She has also expressed her hatred for someone, seemingly Soumya, in the note. Bidya claimed that she had written it after knowing about her husband’s extramarital affair to express her sorrow.

The note has no connection with Soumya’s death, she said. Police have already seized the document from the ACF’s quarters.

Sources said Bidya reportedly did not want to tie the knot as she was concerned about her career. She had even requested Soumya not to go ahead with the marriage.

However, both their families did not pay any heed and performed the marriage. Initial investigation suggests that there was a discord between Soumya and Bidya even before their marriage, said a police officer.

On the other hand, it is learnt that the ACF had become a target of the timber mafia after some trucks laden with illegally felled logs were seized earlier this month.

Surprisingly, the seized trucks have been reportedly released soon after Soumya’s death. However, no forest official was willing to comment on the matter.



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