Orissa HC orders Rs 5L aid in Bheden custodial death case

Makhunu had gone to the Bheden police station to enquire about his son’s whereabouts on July 17, 2015. He then went missing and his skeleton was recovered from the Panichhapar jungle
Representative image
Representative image

CUTTACK: The Orissa High Court has directed the state government to pay Rs 5 lakh interim compensation to the legal heirs of Makhunu Bag of Dekulba village in Bargarh district who was allegedly killed in police custody nearly nine years back.

According to case records, Makhunu had gone to the Bheden police station to enquire about his son’s whereabouts on July 17, 2015. He then went missing and his skeleton was recovered from the Panichhapar jungle near the Metakani temple in Subarnapur district on September 24, 2015.

Makhunu’s family members and a DNA test confirmed the identity of the skeletal remains. Police personnel including the officer-in-charge of Bheden police station were arrested and forwarded to court on murder charges after investigation. The case is pending before the trial court.

Biju Bag, the younger son of Makhunu, filed a petition seeking compensation of Rs 20 lakh for his father’s death in police custody and CBI probe through advocate Prabir Kumar Das.

While disposing of the petition, the single judge bench of Justice SK Panigrahi said, “In my opinion, a full compensation cannot be granted without the completion of trial and complete examination of the circumstances of the death. Hence, it would be reasonable, at this stage, to award an interim compensation to take care of the necessary expenses of the petitioner and her family.”

“Though the younger son of the deceased is the only claimant in this writ petition, in the interest of justice and to mitigate the hardship faced by the widow, two young sons of the deceased and his ageing mother, this court, deems it fit to award compensation of Rs 5,00,000 to be paid by the state government to the legal heirs of the victim,” Justice Panigrahi said.

Justice Panigrahi further directed for recovery of the compensation amount from the salary of the police personnel, who were prima facie found by the government to be responsible for the death and against whom the government ordered prosecution and departmental action.

Justice Panigrahi expressed satisfaction over the investigation by police in the case and observed there was no necessity to involve CBI in the matter.

“However, I want to assure the aggrieved persons that this court would keep a close eye on the proceedings of this case in the trial court, “ he stated.

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