Odisha’s puzzle in teacher’s killing turns ugly with suicide of key accused; political barbs follow

Opposition targeted the ruling Biju Janata Dal government for the death of the prime accused in the Mamita Meher murder case

| Updated: 21 December, 2022 11:15 pm IST
Gobinda Sahu was the managing committee president of the educational institution where Mamita Meher taught

The death of Gobinda Sahu, the prime accused in the sensational murder case of Mamita Meher, has resulted in a political slugfest in Odisha.

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress have alleged that Sahu has been murdered to cloak the involvement of members of the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD).

Sahu reportedly died by suicide on Tuesday. According to various reports, Sahu attempted to end his life inside Kantabanji jail in Bolangir district by hanging himself. He was immediately rushed to a hospital, where the doctor declared him dead.

Interestingly, Sahu was scheduled to appear before the JMFC court today in the case related to the murder of lady teacher Meher.

Demanding a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the death of Sahu, senior BJP leader and MP Basanta Panda said there is every possibility that Sahu might have been killed as part of a conspiracy to save high-profile leaders in the case.

The former state BJP president demanded that Chief minister Naveen Patnaik immediately hand over the matter to the central agency for a thorough investigation.

Training guns at the state government, BJP Mahila Morcha president Smruti Pattanaik said, “It is an effort to give a clean chit to (former state minister) Dibya Shankar Mishra. A probe must be conducted to find out whether he was killed or forced to commit suicide.”

“So far, there is no conclusion to the Mamita murder case. The sensational murder of the lady teacher sent shockwaves across the country. All the evidence of the murder case has now been buried with the death of Sahu,” Pattanaik said. “Sahu was forced to take this extreme step,” she added.

The suicide of Sahu, according to the State Congress, was the result of a large conspiracy.

“Former minister Dibya Shankar Mishra had promised his release, but he did not keep his promise. We suspect it’s a murder, not a suicide. A CBI probe can only find out the truth,” Congress MLA Santosh Singh Saluja alleged.

While the opposition closed ranks while attacking the ruling party, BJD preferred to refrain from making any comment.

BJD MLA Amar Prasad Satpathy said, “As the matter is still sub-judice, it is not right to make any comments on the same. The court will decide what to do next.”

Meanwhile, Sahu’s wife also alleged that her husband was murdered. “My husband has been murdered. He was a mentally strong person. He can never take such a step,” she added.

Meher, a resident of Jharni village in Bolangir district, who worked as a teacher at Sunshine English Medium School in Mahaling of Kalahandi district, went missing on October 8, 2021.

Prime accused Sahu was the managing committee president of the educational institution.

Meher’s decomposed body was found in an under-construction stadium at Mahaling in Kalahandi district on October 19.

Sahu allegedly murdered Mamita, chopped off her body, and set it on fire before burying it under the ground. Sahu also torched Meher’s bag and mobile phone to damage the evidence.

Following the murder of the lady teacher, the opposition had demanded the resignation of the then Minister of State for Home, Dibyashankar Mishra, for his alleged involvement in the case.

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