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Odisha leader in soup over comments on Kunduli gang rape

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Bhubaneswar: BJD Dalit Cell Convenor and party’s senior leader Bishnu Charan Das today stirred up a hornets’ nest by telling at a press conference here that he suspected involvement of Special Operation Group (SOG) jawans in the sensational Kunduli gang rape case.

“What I believe is SOG jawans could be involved in this, because Maoists and general public cannot move in SOG uniform with their faces covered with bandana and 303 rifles on their shoulders. So a high-level probe of the incident should be conducted immediately,” Das told at a press conference hosted at the BJD headquarters here.

Das claimed that he has submitted a report to the Chief Minister based on the findings of the Dalit Cell’s inquiry into the incident.

The BJD leader’s sensational statement has put the State government in an awkward situation with the opposition-BJP and Congress finding new ammunition to target Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik who holds the Home portfolio.

“The DGP too had earlier said that the police and Maoists have no involvement in this. Therefore it is abundantly proved that SOG was involved in this. So since Naveen babu heads the Home department he should take the responsibility,” said BJP’s Dalit Morcha in-charge Dilip Mallick addressing a press conference.

“Since a prominent leader of the ruling party who had conducted an on-spot-inquiry of the incident and has claimed to have submitted a report to the Chief Minister while stating that this gang rape was committed by SOG men which means the government has admitted to it. Therefore, it should immediately nab the culprits,” said former Congress MP from Nabarangpur Pradip Majhi in his reactions on Das’s statement.

Notably, the Congress with family members of the gang rape victim is staging a mass dharna in front of the Raj Bhawan here since yesterday seeking justice for the victim and immediate arrest of the culprits.

However, Das has come up with a clarification that his statement has been distorted by the media and he had provided them with a written statement.

Meanwhile, Koraput SP Kanwar Vishal Singh has clarified that investigation is in progress and there is no information on movement of SOG, BSF and CoBRA forces in that area since October 10.

On the other hand, the Orissa High Court today directed the state government to file status report on the progress of the investigation in the case through an affidavit.

The court directed this while hearing a PIL filed by Gautam Siddiqui. The court has directed the government to comply with the order by Nov 21.

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