Soumya Ranjan Mohapatra, Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF) in Paralakhemundi, Odisha, succumbed to burn injuries during treatment on Tuesday. His family has accused Soumya’s wife and some departmental officials over their son’s mysterious death. Bidya Bharati Panda (wife) has refuted the allegations and said there was no dispute between the couple.
Soumya had married Bidya Bharati last year and the couple was living in Paralakhemundi.
On Sunday night, ACF Soumya Ranjan had sustained serious burn injuries while his wife was at home. He was admitted to the MKCG Medical College and Hospital in Berhampur with 90 per cent burns. Later, he was shifted to a private hospital in Cuttack where he succumbed to the injuries during treatment on Tuesday.
Police had also recorded the statement of the ACF before his death. Police said that investigation is underway to ascertain the reason of the fire that led to the death of the forest officer, reported Odisha TV.
Statement By Wife
According to wife, both had spent some happy moments on the fateful day. She said,
There was no feud between myself and my late husband. We had a very good relationship. No official had any role to play in his death. Just before the unfortunate incident, I was about to serve dinner for both of us.
Panda also refuted the charges levelled by Soumya’s family members that the DFO was responsible for his death saying said that no departmental official had anything to do with the ‘shocking incident’. She also accused her in-laws of spreading rumours about her.
Statement by Victim Husband’s Family
Soumya Ranjan’s father termed the ACF’s death was a preplanned murder over extramarital affair. Soumya’s elder brother Ranjan Mohapatra has directly accused Panda of being a conspirator behind the incident. He alleged,
Firstly, we suspect the role of his wife (Soumya’s wife Bidya Bharati) behind my brother’s death. Secondly, his department is responsible for his death because he was subjected to mental torture.
As the divisional head of his department, the DFO is primarily responsible. He should have looked into matter. But he didn’t even inform us about the incident and instructed officials to shift my brother to Cuttack without consulting us.
Earlier, Soumya’s father had alleged that the death is fallout of a relationship between DFO and Bidya Bharati (Soumya’s wife). He had e-mailed his complaint to police.
Reacting to such allegation, DFO Sangram Behera said that all the charges levelled against him are baseless. He said,
The man, who has made such allegation, is mentally disturbed now. I have never talked to Soumya’s wife over phone. I have neither visited to his house nor have taken food. I have faith in police. I will fully cooperate with the investigation. Everything will be clear after investigation.
Husband’s Family Demands Crime Branch Probe
Family members of the deceased have demanded a Crime Branch probe into the death of their son/brother. They have also alleged that Soumya’ wife, the DFO and a cook were present in the house on the fateful day. They have questioned how Soumya sustained burns while others were safe inside the same house.
They demanded that the trio should be brought under the purview of the investigation. A case should also be registered against them, they demanded.
The Paralakhemundi police of Gajapati district have registered a case against wife and cook of the deceased, along with Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Sangram Keshari Behera.
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