Judicial probe ordered into rape of dalit girl

Bhubaneswar: Bowing to public outcry over alleged rape of a dalit girl in Pipili, Odisha government today ordered a judicial probe into the incident.

"Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has ordered a judicial probe into the alleged rape and harassment of a dalit girl in Pipili area of Puri district," Chief secretary BK Patnaik told reporters here.

Justice PK Mohanty, a retired judge of Orissa High Court will head the commission, he said adding the judicial commission would submit its report within three months.

The decision to conduct a judicial probe into the rape of the 19 year-old was taken after home department secretary UN Behera submitted a report on the incident.

Earlier in the day, the government had suspended the Pipili police station in-charge Anil Champatiray after it was found that the officer concerned did not register a case a day after the alleged rape which took place on November 28, 2011.

The police registered the case only on January 9, 2012 after the Orissa High Court and State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) intervened in the matter.

The HC had on Wednesday directed the state crime branch police to arrest all the four accused named in the FIR, investigate the matter and submit a status report of the case to it on January 16, besides ordering the government to provide her free treatment and protection.

Champatiray was two days ago transferred from Pipili police station to Puri police reserve, an action which was criticised by women's organisations as taking a 'soft attitude' against the erring police officer.

Odisha Agriculture Minister Pradip Maharathy, who represents Pipli, had also come under attack over the incident with the girl's family and women bodies accusing him of shielding the culprits.

Opposition parties Congress and BJP, women organisations, dalit and tribal bodies had demanded setting up of a judicial commission to probe the alleged rape as the girl in coma struggles for survival at the ICU of SCB Medical College Hospital in Cuttack.

Earlier, the government had handed over the investigation in the case to Criminal Investigation Department (CID)of the crime branch. The CID team started its probe into the incident two days ago.