Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Jan 28:
Former judge of the Odisha High Court Justice Radha Krushna Patra, who was probing into the multi-crore rupee chit fund scam in the state, passed away at the SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack this morning.
Justice Patra, a former Chief Justice of the Sikkim High Court, was 72.
Patra was admitted to the SCB Medical College and Hospital on January 24 with pneumonia. He was later admitted to the ICU and kept on ventilator.
His condition began to deteriorate in the evening yesterday as his body did not respond to the medicines he was administered.
The valiant efforts of the doctors to revive Justice Patra failed as he breathed his last at 9.30 AM.
Talking to the media, Emergency officer of SCB Medical College and Hospital Bhubanananda Maharana said Justice Patra was admitted in the Bed No 10 of the ICU in the Medicine ward on January 24 evening. Apart from pneumonia, he was also suffering from septicemia and cardiac disease.
“He was relatively better yesterday and we were hopeful that he would recover. But his condition began to deteriorate in the evening. A team of doctors, led by Dr CBK Mohanty, Dr Sidharth Das, Prof Rina Mohanty, Prof Uttam Patnaik and Prof Ashok Mallick, Prof Chitta Kar and Dr Jyoti Patnaik, was regularly monitoring his treatment. Despite our best efforts, we could not save his life,” Maharana said.
It may be recalled that the state government had constituted a commission headed by Justice RK Patra in July 2013 to hear the complaints of the depositors and take necessary steps for return of their money invested in various ponzi firms. After three successive extensions, the commission was provided with necessary infrastructure this month for digitisation process, At present, about 10 lakh affidavits are pending scrutiny.
Now, with the demise of Justice Patra, doubts have been raised over the progress and fate of the chit fund scam inquiry in the scam. Legal eagles say whoever takes charge of the probe now may have to start all over again.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has condoled the death of Justice Patra saying the state lost an illustrious son and an able and good judge.
“As judge of the Odisha High Court, Chief Justice of the Sikkim High Court and head of various commissions of inquiry, Justice Patra always upheld the cuase of justice. He earned all round acclaim for his unwavering commitment to justice,” the Chief Minister said in his condolence message.
Cremation at Swargadwar today
The mortal remains of Justice RK Patrawould be consigned to flames at Swargadwar in Puri later in the day.
The body of Justice Patra was taken from SCB Medical College Hospital, where he breathed his last, to his residence at Gadakhai in the city for eminent personalities and people of the locality to have a last glimpse of the departed soul.
From there, the body would be taken to the Odisha High Court where senior lawyers and Justices would pay homage.
Later the body would be taken to Puri where his last rites would be performed.
While the cremation of Justice Patra was scheduled at Satichaura crematorium earlier, it would now be held at Swargadwara in Puri, family sources said.
After his retirement, he was appointed as the chairman of the Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC).
The state government, in July, 2013 had appointed him as the chairman of the chit fund probe panel to hear the complaints of the depositors and take steps for return of their money.