Odisha: 22 years after gangrape case, prime accused arrested from Maharashtra


Twenty-two years after a gangrape case rocked the Odisha authorities, resulting in the resignation of then Chief Minister J B Patnaik in 1999, the Odisha police on Monday arrested the prime accused from Maharashtra.

The sufferer, then 29, the estranged spouse of an IFS officer, was travelling with a good friend from Cuttack to Bhubaneswar on January 9, 1999, when their automobile was waylaid and she or he was gangraped allegedly by three males.

The case had created a political uproar when the sufferer accused Patnaik and former advocate basic Indrajit Ray of getting performed a task within the incident, resulting in the CM’s resignation. The allegations, nevertheless, aren’t a part of the FIR.

Seventeen days after the incident, two of the accused, Pradip Sahu and Direndra Mohanty, had been arrested whereas the prime accused, Bibekananda Biswal alias Biban, managed to evade arrest for greater than twenty years.

On Monday, Bhubaneswar-Cuttack Police Commissioner Sudhanshu Sarangi mentioned Biban was arrested by the dual metropolis Commissionerate Police from Aamby Valley in Lonavla, the place he had been working as a plumber.

“We launched Operation Silent Viper to track and arrest the accused. Our teams got active in Maharashtra after we received a tip-off about his whereabouts. He was working at Idyllic Resorts under a false identity of Jalandhar Swain,” mentioned Sarangi.

In 2002, the Khurda District and Sessions court docket convicted Sahu and Mohanty, the opposite two accused within the case, and sentenced them to life imprisonment. In February final 12 months, Sahu, who complained of chest ache, died whereas present process remedy at a Bhubaneswar hospital.

While there had been no leads within the case after the CBI took over the investigation in 1999 following orders from the Orissa High Court, three months in the past, the Bhubaneswar Commissionerate Police reopened the case.

“I had met one of the convicts in the case at Choudwar jail and it had come to my notice that the prime accused in the case is still on the run. So we reopened the file, studied it and launched the operation to nab the accused. The convict informed us that Biswal (Biban) was called BK and then we got a tip-off that the accused was in Maharashtra,” Sarangi mentioned.

“The accused had even managed to obtain an Aadhaar card and open a bank account in Maharashtra. We have also learnt that he had been in touch with his family. They even attempted to obtain his death certificate in a bid to permanently close the case against him,” added Sarangi.

Reacting to the arrest, the sufferer mentioned, “All these years, I felt dead inside. Every day was a struggle, knowing that my perpetrator was free. Justice was denied all these years. I want him (Biban) to be sentenced to death,” she mentioned.

Two years earlier than the incident, on July 12, 1997, the sufferer had accused Ray, then Advocate General, of making an attempt to molest her. She had filed a case towards Ray underneath prices of try and rape on the Cantonment police station in Cuttack on July 19, 1997. She had additionally accused then CM Patnaik of protecting Ray. Ray resigned as A-G in 1998 after the CBI filed a chargesheet towards him.

Following the rape, the sufferer alleged that the gangrape was a pre-mediated act to scare her into withdrawing the costs towards Ray.

In February 2000, a CBI designated court docket sentenced Ray to 3 years rigrous imprisonment, charging him with tried rape.



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