The Orissa crime branch police, probing the Kandhamal nun rape case, seem to have suffered a major setback when the Baliguda Catholic Church nun once again failed to identify the accused during the Test Identification (TI) parade held at the Choudwar jail here on Saturday.

Three persons arrested recently in this connection were lined up along with 30 dummies on the jail premises in three rows and the nun was asked to identify the accused. The dummies were inmates of Choudwar jail having almost similar status and physique as those of the accused.

According to reliable sources, the nun picked up only one person from the three lines, and he turned out to be a ‘dummy,'— an inmate of the local jail. Similarly, the priest of the Church, a key witness in the case, identified two persons and he too erred; picking up the dummies, the sources said.

This, however, could not be confirmed immediately as crime branch officials are tightlipped. Investigating officer Dillip Mohanty refused to confirm anything, simply adding that he had been instructed by his seniors not to disclose anything about the identification parade.

The nun correctly identified three accused persons in two TI parades held on January 5 and June 23 last year. She, however, picked up a dummy in the first TI parade, while the priest failed to identify any of the nine arrested persons from among 90 dummies.

The nun was allegedly assaulted and raped under a staircase of the Baliguda-based Jana Vikash Kendra in Kandhamal district on August 25, 2008 during the communal riots which erupted after the murder of VHP leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his disciples.

On Saturday, the identification parade was planned as the arrested persons were shifted to the local jail to face trial in the case which was held earlier this week in the Cuttack district session's court.

Feeling unsafe

The parades and the trial are now being held in Cuttack following orders from the Orissa High Court, which allowed the pleas of the victim that she was feeling “unsafe” to go to strife-torn Kandhamal district to face the trial and participate in the parade.