Fresh probe into assistant collector’s mystery death in Odisha

IUCAW DSP Banita Majhi entrusted with investigation of the case
Police team inspecting the pond where the assistant collector drowned | Express
Police team inspecting the pond where the assistant collector drowned | Express

ROURKELA: Police have launched a fresh inquiry into the mysterious death of assistant collector Sushmita Minz (35) who reportedly drowned in a pond here on September 19. Deputy SP (DSP) of Investigative Unit on Crime Against Women (IUCAW) Banita Majhi has been entrusted with the investigation of the case.

As part of the probe, a team led by Majhi searched for clues in the pond of Sensory Park within Plant Site police limits here on Monday. The police team was assisted by forensic experts and fire services personnel.

DSP Majhi said police visited the drowning site and fire services personnel entered the pond in search of clues. All possible angles are being analysed and everyone related to the case would be brought under investigation. 

Minz was found dead in the pond on September 19 evening under mysterious circumstances. The autopsy report said she died due to drowning and ruled out possibility of homicide. However, her death continues to be shrouded in mystery as the circumstances leading to her drowning are still unclear.

After Minz did not return home on September 16, her brother had lodged a missing complaint in Uditnagar police station. Basing on the complaint, police launched a search and found the woman officer at a hotel. 

Majhi said details related to the missing complaint, the assistant collector’s statement about her unwillingness to return home and CCTV footage of the hotel have been seized for investigation. Minz had given a written statement saying she was not missing and wanted to stay alone in peace. The woman officer had even threatened that if forced to return home, she would move to court. 

The DSP further said the case is being investigated under the supervision of an additional SP-ranked officer. She is being assisted by a team comprising some sub-inspectors and an IT expert. “We are looking into all the angles and hope to complete investigation at the earliest,” Majhi added.

Earlier, Minz’s brother had lodged a complaint with Plant Site police alleging that her sister was murdered. Mental torture at workplace pushed her into depression, he claimed.

While several outfits have intensified demand for justice to Minz’s family, a complaint was also registered with the Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) in this connection two days back.

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