Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi/Rayagada, May 8:
In its deposition in the Supreme Court on Thursday, the Odisha government has admitted that the delay in the submission of report on the much-hyped murder of lady teacher Itishree Pradhan in the court was due to ‘political reasons’.
Replying to a query by the division bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice MV Rammana, government counsel PS Narasinham said the state government had received the administrative probe report on the case on October 25 last year. On the basis of the report, the state government had filed an affidavit in the apex court after three days on October 28.
Not satisfied with the reply of the counsel, the bench asked why there was a delay of six months in submitting the report to which the latter said the delay was due to ‘political reasons’.
When asked what steps the state government had taken on the basis of the recommendation of the report,
the government counsel said the state government, as per the recommendation of the report, which had held some civil and police officials responsible for the incident, had initiated departmental proceedings against them.
However, the counsel could not give a satisfactory reply to the bench to a question on what action the state government has taken against former Director General of Police (DGP) and former Rayagada collector and SP as per the administrative report submitted by senior IAS officer and the then secretary, Agriculture, Rajesh Verma.
The bench also asked about the status of the departmental proceedings against the aforesaid officials.
To a query by the bench on the role of former Koraput MP Jayaram Pangi in the case, petitoner’s counsel said Suresh Chandra Tripathy said the BJD had not given him the ticket to contest the general elections last year.
The bench took strong exception to the request made by the government counsel seeking its advice on the next course of action to be taken in this regard.
“Should we guide you?” asked the bench.
The bench, during the 45-minute hearing, asked the government counsel to ensure proper investigation and action in this case while terming it as ‘extremely sensitive’. It also said it has given three-month time to the CBI to nab the prime accused in the case.
Besides, it also made it clear that the state government can neither ignore the administrative probe report of Verma and nor would there be any interference by the High Court or any tribunal in this matter.