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.

Advertisements

Dismissal of Former IIC of Pipili PS is a Classic Instance of How Naveen is Hoodwinking the People

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

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. Then, the present mass demand for action against him shall stand defeated.

Let us see how.

The DGP has dismissed Champatiray under Article 311 (2) (b) of the Constitution of India. But in doing so, the DGP has gone against this provision.

Willfully?

If yes, then certainly under instruction of the Chief Minister, for it is he, who was eager to hoodwink the people in Panchayat polls, in this matter.

Let us take a cursory look at the scenario before looking at this constitutional provision.

The media exposed the Pipili felony and then only the shocked family members of the victim could resurrect their shattered courage to disclose the names of the rapists, pointing out how the police has protected them because of their area MLA Pradip Maharathi.

Maharathi tried to intimidate the media, threatening media persons for having relied upon the victim’s family members to link his name to the crime.

This threat instantly ignited an unprecedented public rallying with the media, spearheaded by Media Unity for Freedom of Press (MUFP).

Maharathi had to resign from ministership and to beg apology to media, as people of Orissa, through non-BJD political parties, civil societies, NGOs, trade unions et al had woke up to form, for the first time in the history of Orissa, a platform of solidarity, which they named ‘Orissa Gana Samaj’ against the unprecedented misrule.

This mass awakening fidgeted the CM, specifically as he was to face the people in Panchayat electioneering, like never before.

He was eager to show that the fellows involved with the felony were punished.

Champatiray was transferred from the Pipili Police Station and as that was not enough to assuage public wrath, was put under suspension.

Maharathi was asked to resign and his resignation was accepted, keeping the public in dark about the reason of his resignation while allowing him to boast of having taken moral responsibility for the wrong done to the dalit girl in his constituency.

The layer of protection thus shattered, the gang-rapists, whom the police had known from the beginning, were arrested one after another.

Added to the judicial inquiry invented earlier to hoodwink the people, Maharathi’s resignation, arrest of the rapists and Champatiray’s suspension should have pain-killing effect on mass psyche, the Chief Minister must have thought. But pain in mass mind was becoming more acute.

It was urgent for the CM to dazzle the Panchayat voters with a blaze of severe action against officials but for whose protection the criminals could never have escaped the law for so long a time.

Therefore, the government has transferred Puri district Superintendent of Police Amitendranath Sinha and dismissed the then Pipili IIC, Champatiray from service.

No better cover could have been invented to hide the misrule as exposed in Pipili gang rape case. The CM is now equipped with new arsenals to save himself from public wrath in Pipili context. His mouthpieces have already started saying that Naveen’s administration is so clean that provisions of instant dismissal under Article 311 (2) (b) have, for the first time, been used against an IIC of Police for dereliction in duty. A pro-Naveen TV channel was used last evening for this purpose where majority of time was devoted to bit the BJD drums that by dismissing Champatiray the message has been given to salaried employees that whosoever of them neglects implementation of laws would not be spared in the government that Naveen runs.

But the Government knows, so also Champatiray, that the dismissal order is too week an order to survive a legal challenge and by challenging it in an appropriate Court, without prejudice to any other action that future may think prudent, Champatiray will certainly be reinstated in service, as the said article used in his dismissal is misused.

Let us see what is provided for under this Article.

Article 311

(1) No person who is a member of a civil service of the Union or an all-India service or a civil service of a State or holds a civil post under the Union or a State shall be dismissed or removed by an authority subordinate to that by which he was appointed.

(2) No such person as aforesaid shall be dismissed or removed or reduced in rank except after an inquiry in which he has been informed of the charges against him
and given a reasonable opportunity of being heard in respect of those charges.

Provided that where it is proposed after such inquiry, to impose upon him any such penalty, such penalty may be imposed on the basis of the evidence adduced during such inquiry and it shall not be necessary to give such person any opportunity of making representation on the penalty proposed:

Provided further that this clause shall not apply—

(b) where the authority empowered to dismiss or remove a person or to reduce him in rank is satisfied that for some reason, to be recorded by that authority in writing, it is not reasonably practicable to hold such inquiry.

So, the stress of this provision is irrevocably concentrated on the opportunity of self-defense to be given to the officer in course of inquiry on the anvil of dismissal.

Avoidance of inquiry is not permissible except where “it is not reasonably practicable to hold such inquiry”.

Champatiray has not absconded and was never beyond the reach of the police for inquiry. It was never therefore “not reasonably practicable to hold the inquiry” against him. The DGP has not recorded in writing the reason of why it was “not reasonable practicable” to hold the inquiry.

It is noteworthy that simultaneously with dismissal of Champatiray, the Puri SP has been transferred on the same ground of dereliction of duty in Piplili gang rape context. So it is confirmed by the Government that Champatiray was not alone in protecting the criminals. Had there been the inquiry as contemplated in the Constitutional provision cited supra, the SP’s role in keeping the culprits out of police reach could have come to light. Then the IPS officer must have been forced to face the charges of protecting the criminals and for whatever damage has been done to the gang rape victim. And, it would have embarrassed the IPS circle. Probably this is why the inquiry needed under Article 311 (2) (b) of the constitution has been ignored.

This willful conduct of the DGP of Orissa in keeping an IPS officer of national cadre safe from prosecution while dismissing a lower officer of State cadre is a game that the government should have foiled. But,no such step is taken.

It is clear, therefore, that the constitution is raped in dismissing Champatiray and knowingly so.

No court shall approve this rape of Indian Constitution by the DGP of Orissa.

And, by publicly endorsing the action of the DGP in this matter, the executive government including the Home Secretary and the Chief Secretary as well as the political government headed by Naveen Patnaik, and Naveen Patnaik himself, have individually and collectively committed the rape on the Constitution of India having full knowledge of the mischief they have resorted to.

In doing this, they have ensured that Champatiray’s stage-managed dismissal would be nullified by the appropriate court in course of time; and therefore, it is not out of context to suspect that the oder of this illegal dismissal might have been passed in connivance with Champatiray himself.

It certainly is a well planned order – because it certainly is not believable that the DGP as well as the functionaries named above have not understood the language of Article 311 (2) (b) of the Constitution – to provide Champatiray with the environment of service-safety that certainly would come to him as and when he challenges the order and therefore, is not meant for punishing the offender; but is contrived to hoodwink the people at the moment when Panchayat elections are a challenge to the Chief Minister.

Rapists’ Alleged Shield in the State Cabinet Intimidates the Press

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

People in Orissa have become such habituated with keeping mum in the prevalent environment of crime that the students and social activists – usually the most vocal in collective civil causes – were not even daring to raise voice against the negligence to the Pipili rape victim – battling for life under coma – till media coverage made it a matter worth sharp societal attention.

NOW the civil society stands in solidarity with the victim and she is receiving medical care at SCB Medical College, Cuttack, where a couple of days ago treatment was denied to her.

The Pipili Police Station in-charge, who had remained gravely negligent to the case of the victim has NOW been displaced by way of transfer and police has registered the case that then it was not looking at.

The family members of the victim, who were not daring to utter the names of the bruits that perpetrated the crime, lest they further torture, are NOW pointing their accusing fingers at them and unambiguously naming them even before the cameras.

NOW there is no aloofness in the public and many have started believing that police can no more succeed in covering up endeavor, if any.

But NOW the loudmouthed leader of the ruling party, the Agriculture Minister Pradip Maharathi has become very angry with the media. He has hurled alarming words at media persons and media organizations for having carried the versions of the victim’s family members, in a style akin to act of intimidation.

Whither the State?

MUFP Condemns Agriculture Minister’s Alarming Words Against Media Persons

Orissa Minister of Agriculture, Sri Pradip Maharathi has used alarming words against media persons as in recent press coverage his name has appeared in Pipili rape victim matter.

Press has no bias against Maharathi, but contextually, specifically as the victim’s family members in their allegation have taken his name, his name has found place in the news. This has irritated him to the extent of hurling words that are not becoming of the office he holds.

In reacting thereto, the Media Unity for Freedom of Press (MUFP) has issued a statement. It reads:

The MUFP strongly condemns some recent public statements by Sri Pradip Maharathi, Minister, Agriculture in which he has targeted the media and media persons and also cast aspersions on them.

We wish to warn the minister against making any sweeping, generalized and disparaging remarks against the media in future.

He has the right to defend himself against any false or defamatory news items that may have appeared in the media, but he surely does not have the right to denigrate the media and media persons as a whole.

Media persons are duty bound to report facts and reflect the public opinion and not to please the high and mighty.
 
We sincerely hope Sri Maharathi will restrain himself and desist from making sweeping and irresponsible statements designed to show the media and media persons in poor light in future.