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Woman constable's murder case takes a turn

Staff Reporter

Several organisations join hands seeking CBI probe

Two policemen charged with rape and murder acquitted Court reprimands crime branch for improper investigation

BHUBANESWAR: Taking exception to the way the State crime branch investigated the murder of a woman constable Manorama Basantray, four women's organisations have decided to intensify their campaign seeking a CBI probe into the matter.

"If the government fails to hand over the case to the CBI in the next 10 days, we will file a public interest petition seeking a direction from the court," they said here on Tuesday. This apart, all the legislators would be contacted to build up an opinion among lawmakers on this matter, they said.

Manorama, 23, was shot dead inside the official residence of Mrutyunjay Narayan Panda, then officer in-charge of the Kanpur police station in Cuttack district in March 2002. And, she fell to the bullet fired from Mr. Panda's service revolver. A local court in Cuttack exonerated Mr. Panda and another policeman who were charged with rape and murder of Basantray following "lack of sufficient evidences." " The entire police system has come out to protect two policemen who were accused of murdering their colleague. ," Tapasi Praharaj of AIDWA alleged. Director of `Sansristi' Asha Hans said most of the witnesses in the case turned hostile as they feared `harsh reactions' from the police hierarchy.

State's view

"We sought an appointment with the Chief Minister. But, for three days his office kept us waiting. We then met Home Secretary Tarun Kanti Mishra who said the government is contemplating filing an appeal against the lower court's order," Ms. Praharaj said.

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