SAT confirms the illegality we had exposed: CBI or CI investigation into conduct of the CM and Police Chief must be a Must

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

With nullification of dismissal of the former Inspector-in-charge (IIC) of Pipili PS by the State Administrative Tribunal on January 17, I have no hesitation in saying that the Chief Minister of Orissa Naveen Patnaik and the Police Chief of Orissa Prakash Mishra had shrewdly collaborated with the Pipili felony of gang rape that ultimately exterminated the victim. Only a CBI or a Commission of Inquiry investigation into why the Director General of Police issued a legally untenable dismissal order to the IIC and why being the Minister-in-charge of Police, the Chief Minister had not objected to that, is now urgent to fix up responsibility as to who of these two top functionaries is guilty to what extent in the Pipili context.

As the DGP dismissed the IIC on January 24, 2012 in stark contravention of the very provision under which the dismissal was ordered, and as Orissa’s political and legal luminaries were conspicuous by their silence on this point, I had to post my views in these pages in public interest, on January 28, 2012, exposing how the dismissal was nothing but official protection given to the IIC with all the scope to get that nullified in appropriate court of law.

The SAT has now nullified the illegal order exactly as I had apprehended.

I had captioned my analysis as “Dismissal of former IIC of Pipili PS is a classic instance of how Naveen is hoodwinking the people”.

I had then written,

“The Director General of Orissa Police has dismissed the former Inspector-In-Charge of Pipili Police Station, Amulya Champatiray, for serious dereliction in duty that has endangered the life of a Dalit girl and ruined her family. The order is being used to hoodwink the people.

The guilt of Champatiray is discernible to naked eyes. So, people are happy over his dismissal. But the dismissal is discernibly farcical, because it is not legal and cannot survive the test of law.

Champatiray had protected the alleged rapists of Pipili by not registering FIR on receipt of the allegation of gang rape and of attempt to murder that has sent the victim into coma.

So, he deserves the severest of punishment and deserves no sympathy.

But, with the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik as the Police (Home) Minister, his dismissal is crafted so cunningly that despite his offenses, he shall get back his service by challenging the order of dismissal in appropriate Court of law; because no Court will allow rape of the Constitution by any Governmental authority”.

The article is available here.

I am thankful to friends, specifically Prasanta Patnaik, to have supported me at that stage. But their views, despite being most relevant, also got ignored.

Now that the apprehension I then had expressed has come true by the verdict of SAT, which is the High Court in the matter of the government employees, it is necessary for the State to abstain from killing further time in untenable preferences to higher forum of law; because no court of law including the Supreme Court can make an illegal order legal.

After my analysis, were he ignorant about the law and really innocent, the Chief Minister, being the head of the political government, should have asked the DGP to withdraw the faulty order of dismissal and to proceed afresh in the matter by subjecting the IIC to domestic inquiry under necessary environment of natural justice and then to determine the dose of consequential punishment. By not doing this, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, whose party colleagues are perceived as culprits, had done his best to help the IIC escape the dragnet of law in the court of law.

It is therefore urgent that instead of raising meritless appeals in higher legal forum(s), the Chief Minister should institute an inquiry against himself and his Police Chief to prove them innocent of the conspiracy in that forum. Having instituted a commission of inquiry against himself, former Chief Minister of Orissa late R. N. Singhdeo had created precedence. Naveen should not shy at this precedence in this matter.

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The Pipili imbroglio: It is necessary to look at the other side of The Samaja Scenario

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
The people of Orissa on whose contributions Utkalmani’s newspaper ‘The Samaja’ runs, are being force-fed with condemnation of the Police over its failure to act against the people of Pipili who had obstructed the traffic on Bhubaneswar-Puri road on January 05 at the appliqué square, where one of the gang of alleged hijackers of the paper, Sri Niranjan Rath is said to have been hackled for a news that damaged the area image.

The Samaja asserts that ruling party MLA of Pipili Pradip Maharathi had instigated the people to burn the paper and to hackle Sri Rath when he was on his way to Puri.

In the next day edition, editor of the paper had apologized to people of Pipili in a front page box for the embarrassment caused to them by publishing a wrong information, though, according him, that was not intentional. But he simultaneously editorialized on necessity of the Chief Minister sizing the MLA of his party.

Yet, on the following day it stressed on arrest of Sri Maharathi.

Opinions generated in its favor were also given full page publicity on January 07.
Today, the paper begins with a banner castigating the Police for no action on allegation against the MLA and the people of Pipili.

Precious news space is also massively misspent on Rath’s byline streamer in expression of gratitude to whosoever has condemned the action of the people of Pipili.

Thus, the allegedly illegitimate occupiers of ‘The Samaja’, who use the name of the Servants of the People Society (SoPS) to brandish their authority over the paper, have been condemning the Police for having not taken action against the Pipili MLA and the Pipili people.

But the Samaja scenario has two sides involving the occupiers of The Samaja and the Police.

The legitimate authority of SoPS, Prof. K.C.Tripathi has filed information on criminal activities of these fellows on the basis of investigations conducted by an inquiry committee headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat, retired Judge of the Supreme Court of India and other evidences gathered through in-house investigations and located in files of The Samaja as well as its sister organizations.

Tripathi’s allegations have been registered as FIRs in Economic Offense Wing of Delhi Crime Branch, Khuntuni Police Station in the Cuttach Rural Police District as well as in the Cantonment Police Station of Cuttack City.

But, the cases are left in the lurch, as the very same fellows are in a position to browbeat the investigating officers.

The Director General of Police of the State knows that the two Police Stations under his control are sleeping over the cases against these fellows.

The allegations are so serious that if the police would not have been put under leash, the criminal law jurisprudence system could have been invoked since long against the very same persons that are misusing news space of The Samaja in condemning the police for lack of prompt action against the people of Pipili and their MLA.

These fellows are accused in cases registered in various Police Stations.

I would like to focus on the Cantonment P.S. for the time being.

The Inspector-in-charge of this P.S. is so very afraid of media power under the command of these occupiers of The Samaja, that, he is not even daring to rise up, in spite of judicial directions from the High Court of Orissa. Even information filed by a low paid machine helper of the paper, Surendra Behera, against criminal intimidation and forceful detention by a man appointed as an inquiry officer, in his attempt to cultivate proofs against innocent employees, is thrown into the dustbin of the P.S. without being registered.
The fellows including ministers that have condemned Maharathi and the people of Pipili for their protest against the The Samaja ought to know that foul play on their area image had given birth to that mass action in a conniption.

If thereby, that was an attack on freedom of Press, how are they going to treat the police inaction against transformation of The Samaja into a sanctuary of fellows accused of serious crimes involving forgery and embezzlement of the Samaja funds?

Will they respond to allegations that freedom of Press is used to muzzle the Police in the cases raised against these fellows by Prof. Tripathi as well as by the machine helper Sri Behera?

It is time for all lovers of freedom of Press and rule of law to look at these both sides of the Samaja scenario and to force the Police to act against the miscreants that have been misusing media power to muzzle the Police in matter of allegations against themselves on the one hand and on the other, to reprimand the police for failure to act against whosoever they want to prosecute.

The Police should also make their position clear.

Nabin Patnaik Regime Has Turned Out To Be Nightmare For Women Of The State, Reminds OGS In A Fresh Memorandum To Governor

In the matter of Pipili gang-rape-cum-murder, the Orissa Gana Samaj (OGS) repeated its demand for investigation by CBI and speedy penal action on all the rapists and their protectors amongst politicians, police and medical officers without loss of time. On its behalf, the following memorandum was submitted today by its delegates to Governor Murali Chandrakant Bhandare.

Respected Rajyapalji,
We feel terribly hurt and disgusted as despite our consistent campaign, appeal and warning Babina Behera’s life could not be saved. This is undoubtedly a defeat for ethics, laws and institutions thriving for democracy in Orissa. Her death has put a big question mark before the trial of the mass rape case since all circumstantial evidences had been destroyed earlier or not taken care of within the necessary time frame either by deliberate neglect or by possible manipulation and maneuvering, thus making a mockery of the process of prosecution. There has been also criminal negligence by doctors in providing most immediate treatment. 

Justice which seemed difficult and looked distorted now seems to be being buried. But still Orissa Gana Samaj thinks all is not gone. If the government of Orissa is serious about punishing the culprits despite their strong links with powerful elements in the ruling BJD it can still do a lot and get justice for the families of the dead sufferers.

As we have all already apprised you in our last appeal in the second week of March 2012, the Orissa Gana Samaj was formed by aggrieved political parties in opposition, agonized intellectuals, activists and political organizations and citizens to get justice for Babina and similar cases across the state concerning helpless women who have been victims of sexual crimes and criminal conspiracies involving politically powerful elements. Because of the campaign of the Orissa Gana Samaj the government did concede to a few demands by dismissing the Inspector -in charge of Pipili police station and by arresting all accused. The agriculture minister was also dropped from the cabinet. But no steps were taken to strengthen the prosecution and to go for a CBI investigation of the Babina rape and attempt to murder case as it involved the rape and death in mysterious circumstances of another girl three years back. If you may kindly recollect, the following concerns and demands were raised in our appeal to you seeking your kind and immediate intervention.

“The Nabin Patnaik regime has turned out to be nightmare for women of the state and this has been abundantly proved in the Pipli gang rape case and all other rape cases reported from across the state. 

A dalit girl who could gather the courage to depose before the court in a rape case of her friend Pravati Behera by powerful local elements with ruling party affiliations three years latter herself becomes a victim of gang rape by the same forces. Not only that, the earlier victim also has mysteriously died giving rise to speculation of a well thought out murder and not suicide as officially stated. The incidence that occurred on November 28, 2011 causing the gang rape and attempt to murder of the dalit girl who was witness to the rape of 2008 was also part a criminal conspiracy. In both cases the complicity of the police and ruling pary MLA and Minister of Agriculture in the crime has been subject of strong suspicion. The way the police handled the whole case in the last three years and the way the state run hospitals behaved recently with a dying victim of rape could no more be kept away from public eyes. The Nabin Patnaik government has no answer and no convincing explanation to offer. Simply ordering a judicial inquiry or suspending a police official will not bring justice to the victims- one who has died and the witness of the dead who is battling for life since November 2011. If one of the accused could be arrested now after so many hue and cries was created, why the culprits were not arrested and tried before-asks any conscientious citizen of the state. 

Without wasting any further time as presumably you are aware of the developments in the Pipli gang rape case we would like to put forth the following demands with the expectation that as head of state in odisha you will kindly intervene at the earliest and put a check on the erosion of hope for justice in Odisha today.

1. All ruling party elements connected with the crime/accused to be having links with the criminals must immediately be arrested and put behind bar under charges of murder, conspiracy, abetment to rape and murder etc. The Doctors who have neglected treatment of Babina at Pipili, Capital Hospital as well as at S.C.B. Medical College Hospital must be prosecuted for negligence of duty amounting to murder.

2. A CBI investigation of the cases of rape and death of Pravati Behera as well as that of Babina Behera must be taken up immediately.

3. The officers in police hierarchy including DG police and home secretary must be sacked and arrested so that it will discourage the cadre/officers from becoming party to the crime/criminal conspiracies at any level.

4. All rape cases/gang rape cases in the state must be reviewed by an independent body and cases closed before judicial verdicts must be reopened.

5. All rape victims must be enabled to lead a normal life and they must be adequately rehabilitated including the Pipli gang rape victim.

6. Those who have died/got killed/committed suicide next of their kith and kin must be financially compensated.”

7. Cases against Gana Samaj ;leaders is a well planned design to throttle the opinion and fundamental rights and freedom of speech , must be dropped. 

Now that Babina has died much to the delight of the culprits and their protectors in the ruling BJD party and government, which apparently they anticipated, the case has taken a new turn. All believers in democracy are eager to know the fate of the case. Had she opened her mouth, truth would have come out. Now since she has been silenced for ever and truth has been made to rest, a CBI investigation can only help in digging out the truth from her grave. It may not be required to reemphasize the fact that Babina’s case is no more a mass rape case. It has become a murder case now. Every murder is done with an intention. The accused may be in judicial custody now but their protectors and their partners in crime are roaming free. They have even gone to the extent of registering a FIR against the members of Odisha Gana Samaj with the single most intention of discouraging us and destroying the case. Therefore, we consider it high time for your good office to intervene and to please initiate action.

Along with other demands submitted earlier we would like to reiterate the following:

1. Ask the Chief Minister to go for a CBI investigation of the rape and murder case of Babina and her friend Pravati. It is because of her courage to get justice for her dead friend Babina paid a price in terms of her dignity and life.

2. Ask the government to book all accused in the rape case under 302 as it has also turned out to be a murder. All police officials and doctors must be immediately booked and tried in this rape and murder case.

3. Babina’s family facing harassment and torture at the instigation of antisocial and ruling party elements in the locality must be rehabilitated honorably elsewhere with protection.

4. All laws protecting women and their dignity must be implemented properly and with provisions of regular and effective monitoring.

With best regards
Yours sincerely
Prasanta Patnaik
And
Rabi Das
Joint Conveners along with the members

THE PIPILI SIN: A SCENE FOR ORISSA TO BE ASHAMED OF ITS GOVERNMENT

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The Pipili gang-rape victim’s cremation gave birth to such a scene that every genuine Oriya should have liked not to have seen.

Orissa has a government that hijacked the Ambulance the victim’s father was using to take her body for funeral at Ghatikia after receiving the same from SCB Medical College, Cuttack; and, arbitrarily halted the cremation for long 51 hours till it totally decomposed.

Perpetrators of the crime being members/supporters of the ruling party, the police was used to suppress the FIR and the medical system was used to make out a case of snake bite in order to protect the criminals. As media exposed the felony, the minister, who represents the Pipili constituency, had tried to intimidate the reporters. This is why the Media Unity for Freedom of Press (MUFP) had to intervene. In its attempt to protect the journalists from the ire of the minister, MUFP involved the general public in expression of solidarity with the media persons of Pipili. This eventually gave birth to Orissa Gana Samaja (OGS), where political parties thought it prudent to unite sans their flags in demanding justice for the victim of the gang rape.

The government, then, had no other way than taking the victim to its own care and providing free advanced treatment at SCB Medical College, Cuttack.

Therefore, since the day her charge was taken over by the government, she was, alive or dead, absolutely official. It was the responsibility of the government to treat her dead body officially. The government should have decided where and how to cremate her and in that, only accommodated her family members in witnessing the cremation and performing the rituals. So, instead of handing over the body to her family, the Medical College should have handed it over to the government. Government did not take over the body from the Medical College. As result of this, the father of the child had taken over the corpse for cremation.

It is shocking that, thereafter, when the corpse, as received from the Hospital, was being carried for cremation in an ambulance, the police planted its men in the same Ambulance, who, at Rasulgarh, threw out the family members accompanying the corpse and instead of allowing the Ambulance proceed for Ghatikia as desired by the father of the victim for her cremation in presence of relations present in that village, forced its driver to proceed towards Puri. As hundreds of onlookers at Rasulgarh watched it, they tried to foil the carjack by the police itself; but they were subjected to brutal beating by a police force summoned to the spot. It was incumbent upon the government to cremate the body of the victim with due dignity; but it failed. This shows how irresponsible, incompetent and confused the government is.

The irresponsibility, incompetency and confusion of the government is squarely established by the very fact that the dead body of the Dalit girl could not be given obituary respect in her own village as her family was not allowed by the caste hindus, the collaborators of the rapists and the mafia ruling the roost there to perform her last rites, even in presence of the police and the magistrates and the men who matter in administration.

Nothing can be more shameful for the people of the State than the fact that, the State could not dare to ensure cremation of the victimized child by her family members in terms of its tradition in their own village, because, failure of administration to keep under leash the hounds that tortured her to death, was too alarming for them to perform the last rites in their place of birth.

That, the government failed to have the cremation in the birthplace of Babina, the victim, has established that law is not working in Pipili and administration has no control over the area.

It has become a free land for fellows in or close to power to rape any girl of the locality, to attempt to murder her post-rape, to use police and medical officers to arrange death of the victim in medical environment so that the curpus delicti would be of no active witness utility, to keep the family of the victim under constant alarming intimidation so as to deter it from taking appropriate legal action, to purchase the silence of the victim’s relations through posthumous release of massive amount of money from the state exchequer in the style of the ruling chief minister’s help, to use a section of obliging media and village touts and vested-interest politicians to demoralize the civil-society activists through cultivated insinuations even while managing the prosecution to weaken the case by eliminating/ignoring material evidences.

Every Oriya should feel ashamed of having such a chief minister, such a government, such a network of crime and such a situation.

Fanatical Face of Pipili: Rape is Our Prerogative; Action Against That is Not Yours

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa Gana Samaj that stresses on CBI inquiry into Pipili gang-rape, is facing police action, as the local police station – ill-famed for having given protection to the rapists – has entertained a FIR against its leaders, alleging, because of them, the rape having attracted national attention, face of Pipili has been blackened.

Pipili Assembly Constituency is in strong grip of ruling party BJD. No official here is expected to act independent of BJD influence.

Here, in the village Arjungoda, on 29 November 2011, a Dalit girl was found lying like a dead body in a paddy field abandoned by perpetrators of gang-rape who had tried to murder her after raping, as her living was dangerous to them, she being the only eye witness to a 2008 rape-cum-murder they had committed; and, assuming that she was dead, they had left her motionless body to be eaten away by scavengers.

But a villager stumbled upon the poor child in that pathetic condition and notified her family.

The shocked family took her to Pipili Hospital for immediate medical intervention and informed the police. None of them came to her rescue.

The girl was then taken to the Capital Hospital at Bhubaneswar, which not only blatantly neglected her, but also to eliminate the angle of rape, probably under political pressure, tried to make out a case of snake bite.

The girl, due to willful wrong treatment, went from senselessness to coma and her reference even to the SCB Medical College failed to fetch any proper medical attention; as if revival of her sense was not in the agenda of the government doctors.

She was discharged from the medical college without any medico-legal investigation even though her family had apprised the medical officer of the gang-rape and attempted murder.

As she was thus left without medical care, in the lap of slow death, in a condition of no attention from the State as police was not taking cognizance of rape and attempted murder, the local media took up the matter.

Surprisingly, the loudmouth bigwig of BJD, Minister (as he then was) Pradip Maharathi, representing Pipili in the Assembly, till then silent, woke up to intimidate the Press for reports of the rape!

The minister’s such unexpected attack on the media made the watchdog of journalistic interest, the Media Unity for Freedom of Press (MUFP) take up the issue and eventually, under its initiative, for the first time in the post-independence history of Orissa, politicians sans their party flags got united with the civil society against the government’s design to suppress this felony, which gave birth to the Orissa Gana Samaj (OGS), with representatives of MUFP – Prasanta Patnaik and Rabi Das – as its joint conveners.

The loudmouth minister had to resign from the cabinet; the Government had to readmit the victim in the medical college afresh and to arrange for her treatment under inspection and instructions from super-specialists and medical scientists from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi; and other official organs had to get activated. The Home department had to initiate action against the police inspector who had protected the rapists and the alleged rapists were arrested, notwithstanding howsoever farcical that was.

Had the OGS not taken up the matter, the victim could never have got government attention and the possibility of prosecution against the rapists could never even have developed.

So, the ruling party, its loudmouth leader who was forced to resign in the gang-rape context, its local hoodlums to which segment the alleged rapists belong, are acrimoniously angry upon the OGS.

Now as a FIR has been filed against the representatives of OGS by a man who claims that by exposing the gang-rape, they have embarrassed Pipili in the eyes of the nation, one is inclined to accept that there are elements in Pipili to whom raping a woman is not a crime against the land, but exposing the crime is a crime. This throws light on the liking of the party that rules over Orissa, specifically when such a mischievous FIR has been entertained by the police.

Prasanta Patnaik, Convener of OGS, has demanded that the matter in its entirety be handed over to CBI for an in-depth investigation, as the State Police seems to be in habitual nexus with the criminals.

OGS Suspects Threat to the Life of Pipili Gang-rape Victim: Demands Immediate Arrest of Ex-Agriculture Minister and Officials Trying to Protect the Culprits; Stands with the Brother of the Victim for CBI Investigation

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa Gana Samaj, initiated by Media Unity for Freedom of Press (MUFP) as the then Agriculture Minister hailing from Pipili had threatened media persons with dire consequences for reporting on Pipili gang-rape, has in a statement, expressed deep anguish over stage managed reports produced by the Crime Branch of Orissa Police shrewdly coined to end the case as clueless and has underlined its suspicion that there is severe threat to life of the rape victim as thereby the most material corpus delicti would be removed for the benefit of the accused persons.

The OGS has demanded that round the clock strongest possible protection be immediately given to the victim improving in coma condition and that, the demand of the brother of the victim for handing over the case to CBI be immediately accepted in order not to derail justice in the agonizing case.

The statement is in Oriya. Please click here to peruse it.

Orissa Gana Samaj Dharana at Raj Bhawan Reminds the Governor of his Duties to the State

Governor Muralidhar Chandrakant Bhandare has, of course, refused to be mislead by the report of the chairperson of Orissa State Commission for Women in the matter of Pipili gang rape and has advised her to review her own work and come up with a credible one; but that is not enough, as Orissa Gana Samaj has observed.

In a Dharana at Raj Bhawan on February 18, Orissa Gana Samaj has reminded the Governor of his duties to the State in circumstances of rising oppression on the people and relentless deterioration in law and order with a police siding with the offenders.

The Gana Samaj used the occasion to thank the people of Orissa as in every nook and corner of the State they have stood with it in accepting its call to put moral pressure on the government to discipline the police which has forced the Chief Minister to issue instructions for immediate registration of every information on atrocities on women and weaker sections.