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Odisha lady teacher murder: SC asks CBI to complete probe in three months

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Reported by Ranjan Rath
Rayagada, Apr 28:

The Supreme Court today asked the CBI to complete probe into the sensational murder of Itishree Pradhan a lady teacher of Tikiri Upper Primary School in Odisha’s Rayagada district.

supreme courtThe apex court fixed its next hearing of the case on April 30.

It also directed the Odisha government to submit administrative probe report in two days.

Earlier in the day, CBI DSP MK Pathak submitted the preliminary investigation report in a sealed envelope to the apex court while seeking permission to allow the CBI another three months time to submit a complete report of the case  to which the latter granted.

The directive of the Supreme Court came in response to a petition by Subash Tripathy, counsel of Sudipta Lenka, a student of Bengaluru, alleging that the CBI has not submitted its report after three months of its investigation into the case.

Taking strong exception to the gross apathy of the Odisha government for not submitting the administrative probe report on the murder of Itishree since its order to the government in this regard on March 12 last year, the apex court directed the state government to submit the report in two days.

The apex court also asked the Central and state government officials dealing with the case to cooperate with the CBI in its investigation.

It may be mentioned that following the order of the Supreme Court on March 12 last year, the state government had entrusted senior IAS officer and the then secretary, Agriculture, Rajesh Verma to conduct an administrative probe into the incident.

In his report submitted to the state government in the last week of May last year, Verma had mentioned the name of 17 persons including former Rayagada SP Rajesh Pandit responsible for the incident.

The lady teacher was set on fire inside her room in the school campus on the night of October 27, 2013 and succumbed to her injuries at the CARE Hospital at Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh on November 1.

While the state government had ordered a Crime Branch probe into the incident, the latter has failed to nab the prime accused more than a year after the incident.

Following a writ petition filed by Sudipta Lenka, a law student from Bengaluru, the Supreme Court had directed the CBI to probe into the case on January 20 this year.

While the state government had requested the apex court to allow it to continue the investigation by the Crime Branch, the court declined to accept the plea pointing out that the mode of investigation by the state police had cast a doubt since the prime accused is yet to be nabbed more than one year after the incident.

Acting on the directive of the court, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the CBI began the probe into the case on February 25 this year.