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Ruckus in Odisha assembly as govt rejects oppn demand for CBI

Press Trust of India  |  Bhubaneswar 

Odisha assembly witnessed pandemonium for the second day on Thursday as opposition parties pressed for a CBI probe into the death of a woman officer, which was rejected by the state government.

Congress members staged a walk-out while BJP MLAs trooped to the well of the House and tried to climb the Speaker's podium forcing a couple of adjournments.

After a two-hour discussion failed to resolve the impasse, Speaker SN Patro adjourned the House till Friday.

The issue in question is the death of woman panchayat extension officer in Jajpur district, Smitarani Biswal. She was found hanging at a private guest house in the district on October 16.

As soon as the House assembled at 10.30 am on the second day of the Winter Session, Congress legislators started shouting slogans in the well forcing the Speaker to adjourn the proceedings till 12 noon.

When the House reassembled, BJP MLAs rushed to the well holding banners and demanded a CBI probe into Biswal's death. They asked Patro to allow a special discussion through a motion instead of a debate under adjournment notice.

Speaker Patro, however, accepted an adjournment notice from the Congress and allowed a discussion. BJP members then tried to climb the Speaker's podium and shouted slogans leading to an adjournment for further 30 minutes.

"Yesterday I had demanded that a discussion should be held on the woman PEO's death on a priority basis. However, the Speaker did not allow it," Leader of Opposition Pradipta Kumar Naik of the BJP said.

Naik claimed that the PEO was killed and the BJD government was attempting to hush up the case by showing it as a case of suicide.

As the Speaker did not listen to BJP members, they continued their protest in the House today, he said.

Without paying heed to Patro's repeated plea to keep silence, BJP members shouted and clapped during the discussion allowed by the Speaker.

Initiating the debate, Congress Legislature Party leader Narasingha Mishra supported the BJP's demand that the matter should be handed over to the CBI in view of its complex nature.

"How did the woman PEO, a government employee, come to the private guest house of a BJD leader? How the private guest house was built on government land?" Mishra asked.

Raising question over Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's silence over the matter, Mishra alleged that women and girls are not safe in Odisha as the law and order has collapsed.

Mishra said the government may also set up a High Court monitored Special Investigation Team to probe into the woman PEOs death.

Congress members Suresh Routray, Santosh Singh Saluja, Taraprasad Bahinipati and others also demanded CBI probe into the PEO's death case and accused the ruling party of shielding the criminals involved in the killing.

Replying to the debate, Minister of State for Home, D S Mishra, said, "The post-mortem (examination) concluded that the cause of death of Smt Smitarani Biswal was due to asphyxia and may be suicidal in nature."

The minister said the police has been probing the case with sincerity and one person was arrested on the charge of abetment of suicide within three days of her death.

He also rejected the opposition allegation of low rate of conviction in rape cases.

Rejecting demand of CBI probe into the case, he cited two murder cases that had been investigated by the CBI and a judicial body.

"In the end, the state government have been vindicated as no shortcoming on part of the state government machinery could be discovered in those cases," he said.

Treasury bench members Pramila Mallick, Amar Prasad Satpathy, Prafulla Samal, Sashi Bhusan Behera and Ashiwni Patra also said there was no point in handing over the case to CBI or setting up an SIT.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, November 14 2019. 18:55 IST