Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi, Mar 5:
The Supreme Court today completed the hearing on the PIL demanding a CBI probe into the case of Tikiri lady teacher Itishree Pradhan who died after she was set on fire by an unidentified miscreant last year.
The three-member bench headed by the Chief Justice P.Sathasivam, however, reserved its verdict in the matter.
The other two members of the bench are Justices Ranjan Gogoi and M V Rammanna.
Interestingly, Odisha government’s counsel, senior lawyer Nageswar Rao opposed the transfer of the investigation of the case to CBI on the ground that the state Crime Branch had done a through probe and submitted a charge sheet against the prime accused.
Rao, however, admitted that Itishree had indeed sent her petition to the chief minister but no action had been taken on it. He also indicated that the state government is considering taking disciplinary action against the collector and the SP of Rayagada district for their failure to act in time.
Senior lawyer Suresh Tripathy, counsel for the petitioner Ms Sudipta Lenka, rubbished the Crime Branch report and prayed that the case be handed over to an independent agency like the CBI because powerful people including the local MP were involved in the case.
On Tuesday, a junior lawyer representing the state government had, for the third time, had prayed for an adjournment in the hearing saying the senior counsel Gopal Subramaniam was not available. The court had expressed its displeasure over repeated pleas by the state government for adjournment ‘under this pretext or the other’and ordered that the hearing be completed by Wednesday.
Itishree Pradhan, a young school teacher at the Tikiri UP School in Odisha’s Rayagada district was set afire on the night of October 27 last year. She was rushed first to the Rayagada district hospital and then to the Seven Hills hospital in Vishakhapatnam with severe burn injuries, but succumbed to her injuries after six days.
The miscreant who poured kerosene on Itishree and set her ablaze is yet to be identified