Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 24:
Airfield police recovered the decomposed body of a well-known social activist and a close associate of former Odisha chief minister Biju Patnaik inside a house at the Aerodrome area in the city here on Saturday.
Preliminary investigation has revealed that the deceased, identified as Naliniprava Das (62) of Chandini Chowk area in Cuttack, was murdered a week ago.
Police in the meanwhile have sealed and guarded the house (plot no-207).
People in the locality said they had seen Das for the last time on May 15. Since the light and fan in her room were on, they had no idea of the incident. She used to move out for social work most of the time, neighbours say.
The matter came to light when some women social activists came to her house in the evening. After reaching her house, they felt a stench emanating from the house and called on the locals who broke open the house and found Das lying on a bed.
Following information, Airfield police rushed to the spot. During investigation, police found her mobile phone and the jewellery she was wearing missing. Police could not find any trace of injuries on her body as it was decomposed.
Since the investigation could not be completed, police sealed the house and deployed home guards on duty. The investigation began today by a scientific team.
On the basis of the information provided by the locals, police suspect it could be the handiwork of the auto-rickshaw driver, engaged by Das to take her around the city, since his mobile phone was found switched off.
Police have also come to know that the kin of Das might have committed the crime as she had decided to donate her land to an orphanage after her death.
Das was very close to former chief minister Biju Patnaik. For her, the Naveen Niwas was always open. She used to visit Naveen Niwas and prepare food for him. After his death, Das dedicated her service for the welfare of the poor and downtrodden. She was associated with several women’s organisations in the city. During festivals like Holi and Dewali, she used to bring orphan children from Ruchika Helpline to her house and offer them with food and clothes.
Though Das was a native of Cuttack city, she had been staying in Bhubaneswar for more than 35 years.