Lady PEO Death: MoS Home Submits Statement To Odisha Assembly Speaker

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Bhubaneswar: After the winter session of Odisha Assembly witnessed unruly scene since the first day of its commencement in connection with the lady PEO Smitarani Biswal death case, the Minister of State (Home) Capt Dibya Shankar Mishra  today submitted a statement explaining steps taken by the police and government in this regard

The major issue that rocked the state assembly was the mysterious death of the lady PEO  Smitarani Biswal. The opposition leaders blamed the ruling-BJD for its failure in providing safety to the women in Odisha.

Leader of Opposition (LoP) and BJP MLA, Pradipta Naik demanded a motion to be brought under Rule 111 and a discussion to be held on the lady PEO’s death on a priority basis in the Odisha Assembly. Alleging that some BJD leaders are involved in the death of Smitarani, Congress also moved an adjournment motion over the matter in the Assembly. Following this, the Speaker accepted to hold a discussion on the issue.

However, both the Congress and BJP raised questions related to the safety and security of women in the state with the leaders of the former party raising slogans against the BJD in the well of the House.

In response to the adjournment motion moved by the opposition members in connection with the death of Smitarani Biswal, the MoS Home Capt. DS Mishra submitted a statement to the Speaker which explained the steps taken by the police and government in providing justice to Biswal.

The statement mentioned, “the State Government accords the highest priority for curbing crimes against women and all matter that impact their safety and dignity. The Government is also committed to ensuring a safe working environment for women of the state.”

Smitarani Biswal, PEO, Haridaspur was found hanging on 16.10.2019. On the report of her father, a UD case in Dharmasala PS was registered and inquired into. Inquest over the dead body was conducted in the presence of Executive Magistrate and witnesses. A post-mortem examination, conducted by a team of doctors, was video-graphed. The post-mortem concluded that the cause of death of Biswal was due to asphyxia and may be suicidal in nature.

A systematic and scientific inquiry has been conducted by the police into this incident. The relevant article and available evidence have been seized from the spot immediately after the incident was reported. The enquiring officer has also obtained and analysed the call details of the mobile phone of the deceased as well as the accused.

As the enquiry suggested the involvement of Rupesh Bhadra, husband of Sarpanch, Haridaspur in abetting the suicide of  Biswal, IO lodged Dharmasala PS Case No.481 dt 19.10.2019 under Section 306 IPC (abetment to suicide). During the investigation, the IO examined the deceased’s father and husband, driver of the accused, neighbours, etc. After the investigation, as prima facie evidence was available against Rupesh Bhadra, he was arrested on 19.10.2019 u/s 306 IPC. He is now in jail custody and investigation is in progress.

Honourable members will appreciate the fact that the accused was arrested within 3 days of the incident after a scientific investigation conducted by the police.

This case demonstrates the commitment of the government to attach the highest priority to deal with crimes against women and children in an expeditious and transparent manner. The investigation and prosecution and cases against women are being closely monitored to ensure a higher rate of conviction which would serve as a deterrent to persons intending to perpetrate such crimes.

Strict instructions have been issued to ensure that charge sheets are filed timely. In order to strengthen the investigative apparatus especially for the heinous crime against women, the government has taken various steps to tackle crime against women.

All sensational cases of crime against women are treated as Red Flag cases. Holding IOs and special P.P.s are appointed for proper monitoring of the trial. In 2019 till date, the percentage of conviction in Red Flag cases is 41.48%.

Effective investigation and systematic monitoring have resulted in awarding capital punishment to the accused in four cases during the last three and half months in sensational cases of rape and murder in districts of Angul, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, and Mayurbhanj.

Honourable members will recollect that in recent years accusations of irregularities and omissions by state agencies in conducting. investigation in crime against women. Valuable time of this house was lost and smooth proceedings disrupted. Members may recall the Tikiri murder case which was assigned to CBI, the statement further mentioned.

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