Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Jun 26:
The mystery over missing Odisha women’s rugby player Sujata Pradhan was cleared somewhat today after one of her fellow rugby players received a call from her.
“I received a call on my mobile phone from an unknown number. When I asked the caller about her identity, she introduced herself as Sujata. When I asked about her whereabouts, she replied that ‘I am outside.’ Before I could ask her anythign more, she hurriedly sought mobile number of Manas Sir, a member of the rugby team. As soon as I gave her his number, she hung up,” Sujata’s friend Laxmipriya Sahu alias Lucky said today.
Surprisingly, Laxmipriya claimed that Sujata had been missing for three months and not 35 days as her parents claimed while lodging the complaint in the police last Tuesday.
“After returning from the national games, she participated in practice sessions for 3-4 days. After that, she has not reported for training. Her father’s claim that she is missing since last 35 days is incorrect. In fact, she is absent since three months. It is their internal family matter and only they can explain why they made the claim they did,” Laxmipriya said.
In his FIR filed with the police, Sujata’s father had said his daughter had been missing since May 18 and expressed th apprehension that she could have been abducted by someone.
Rejecting the abduction theory, Dhirendra Kumar Rout, Sujata’s rugby coach said, “She was irregular in attending the practice sessions. I think she had a love affair and she has eloped with someone.”
On Thursday, police had searched the house of Prabhat, a mason who was working in her house, in the suspicion that he could have abducted Sujata. Prabhat’s mobile phone, it may be noted, had also been found in the switch off mode since Sujata went missing.
The cops raided the native village of Prabhat in Nayagarh’s Khandapara area on Wednesday, but did not find the couple and had to come back empty-handed.
Sujata, who belongs to Padasahi village under Nandankanan police station, went missing on May 18. The incident came to fore after her father Kailash Pradhan lodged a complaint in local police station last Tuesday.