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Police produce CCTV footage to nail lawyers’ claim; lawyers challenge evidence

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Reported by Santosh Jagdev

Bhubaneswar, July 22:

Commissionerate police today produced CCTV footage that it claimed conclusively nails the contention of the agitating lawyers in the Odisha capital that lawyer Nihar Ranjan Sethi was brutally assaulted by the police on Wednesday night.

Dr RP Sharma
Dr RP Sharma

Briefing media persons here, Twin City commissioner Dr RP Sharma said it was the second time that the evidence had been disclosed after it was shown to the protesting lawyers last Friday.

Giving the sequence of events of the night as per the CCTV footage, Sharma said the lawyer Nihar Ranjan Sethi was drunk and intended to go to Mancheswar on Wednesday night. Near Vanivihar railway over bridge, the lawyer met with an accident while he was driving his bike. Some of the locals spotted him and called police control room. The nearest PCR van reached the spot and took him to capital hospital.

The CCTV footage of the Solan bar showed that Sethi, along with four associates, went there on Wednesday at sharp 7.30 pm.

Later a heavily drunk Sethi is spotted in the footage going out of the hotel around 11.40 pm. Police have also secured the bill paid Sethi and his friends, Sharma said.

In his FIR, Sethi had said he went to the sessions court premises to collect his parked motorcycle. From there, he wanted to go towards Mancheswar, where he met with an accident. “Sethi resides at Mahtab Road under Airfield police station. We are yet to find out why he went in the opposite direction of his house,” said Sharma.

Then at 2.38 am the same night, a man from the accident site called in the police control room to report an accident. “We have the recording of the call and we also have also identified the caller. He has been interrogated,” said Sharma. Moreover, the damaged motorcycle, having a registration number OR 13B 1377, had also been recovered from the spot.

Police control room then called the nearest PCR vans that went to the spot and rescued Sethi and took him to the capital hospital here. “In between, the 108 ambulance service was also called, but they informed they did not have any ambulance available,” said Sharma.

According to the footage secured from Capital Hospital’s casualty ward, Sethi, accompanied by a few police men, reached the hospital at 3.30 am and after some first aid, he left around 4.37 am.

Sethi was also captured on camera misbehaving with the hospital staff. The entire time Sethi was walking by himself and showed no signs of serious injury. “Sethi never complained about any scrotum injury to the doctors during the check up. We have talked to the on-duty guards and the doctors of the hospital,” said Sharma.

Sethi was spotted leaving the hospital in the wee hours of Thursday at 4.37 am. “He took an auto-rickshaw and went to his house. We have identified the auto driver and recorded his version,” said Sharma adding that the same day at 6.15 pm in the evening, he was admitted to a private hospital with an injury on his scrotum.

Police jeep set ablaze during lawyers' agitation
Police jeep set ablaze during lawyers’ agitation

“The footage shows throughout the police had helped him. We are still investigating the matter, but it is clear even now that the victim was not beaten up by the police that night,” said Sharma adding that a special team, including additional DCP and inspectors, has been formed to investigate the matter.

The police, the commisonerate said, will take stringent action against the agitators who destroyed public property. “A case has been registered for burning the police jeep and we are also investigating the matter,” said the CP.

Bhubaneswar Bar Association President Tushar Kanti Mohapatra said all the proofs, shown by police, are fake. “Police have fabricated the evidence and the real truth can only be known from the victim,” he said.

Lawyer of BBA have hinted that they are going to continue their agitation if the police do not keep their word and punish the guilty.

Yesterday the CP had promised to identify the cops who launched a brutal assault on a city lawyer on Wednesday night within 48 hours and take stringent action against them.