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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack/Paralakhemundi, Aug 28:

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Odisha Crime Branch probing the mysterious deaths of four persons, including the former manager of Paralakhemundi Maharaja Gajapati Gopinath Narayan Deb, today concluded its first phase investigation.

paralakhemundi palace

The six-member probe team was camping in the sleepy town of Paralakhemundi to investigate into the alleged suicides and allegations of property misappropriation and detention of the Maharaja under house arrest as leveled by a local citizens’ forum which fuelled the much hue and cry over the royal scion’s safety.

During the probe, the investigators quizzed local politicians, Amulya Patra—brother of the deceased, employees of the palace, among others.

Earlier in the day, the team met the CDMO in the last leg of the first phase investigation.

“The SIT enquired about the health condition of the Maharaja,” Gajapati CDMO Purna Chandra Kora said.

Besides, the investigators also seized a flex banner put up in front of the palace purportedly mounted on the instructions of the sister-in-law of the Maharaja, sources said.

Yesterday, the cops visited the tehsil and sub-registrar office to probe land transactions of the Parala king.

Contrary to the claim of Maharaja’s legal advisor LK Adhikari that no immovable property could be sold after 2010, the investigating team has come to know that the king had sold a vast stretch of a mango orchard in April 2012 and another piece of land in December, 2015.

According to sources, the team would visit Chennai to further probe the matter some time later as the Maharaja is presently undergoing treatment at a private hospital there. This apart, it would also visit Paralakhemundi and Berhampur also.

It may be recalled that the body of Ananga Manjari Patra, the 54-year-old former palace manager and two other siblings, was recovered from her Jangam Sahi residence. Another brother, Santosh, was rescued from the house, where he was found lying on the floor, in a critical condition. The following day, he died at MKCG Medical College and Hospital.

Prior to that, local MLA K Surya Rao had led a campaign demanding action against the Angnga and her brother who worked as a personal assistant to the king for keeping the  Maharaja under house arrest and trying to sell off royal properties.

Rejecting the allegations against his siblings, Amulya Patra had claimed that the false allegations caused them immense trauma, which was aggravated when dharnas and rallies were held in the town against them.