Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Sunday demanded security for the family members of the Pipili gangrape and murder victim alleging that they are being threatened by goons of the ruling BJD.
Pradhan, who visited the victim's family, also claimed that when he was returning here from their village, ruling party "goons" threatened them in presence of policemen that no one will be able to able to save the family.
"Family members of the girl are feeling insecure. They are afraid that their lives are under threat from the accused persons, who are protected by the ruling party," the petroleum minister said narrating his interaction with the victim's family members.
Stating that he has taken up the matter with the Director General of Police, Pradhan urged Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to provide security to the family.
The family members have raised serious allegations about the "shoddy inquiry" and the administration and demanded a CBI inquiry into the gangrape and murder of the girl, Pradhan told reporters. He said the family members of the girl feel that the resignation of Pradeep Maharathy will not be able to give justice to the girl.
Maharathy, the agriculture minister, resigned Sunday after he stoked controversy for his remarks on the acquittal of the accused in a gang rape-and-murder case of 2011-2012.
The 19-year-old Dalit woman was raped in November 2011 and died in June 2012 after remaining in a semi-comatose state, sparking a state-wide furore. It was alleged that the accused in the case had been sheltered by Maharathy.
On December 24, 2018, the court of additional district judge in Bhubaneswar had acquitted the two persons arrested in the case. The statements of ministers in BJD government have hurt the people of Odisha more than the court judgement, Pradhan said.
Reacting to the court judgement, Maharathy had said, "I welcome the court judgement. It is a victory of truth. The victim girl got justice." Maharathy's statement had angered opposition political parties as well as the victim's family who had sought stringent action against the accused.
Pradhan said the girl's brother said the Crime Branch did not accept the blood-stained clothes of his gang-raped sister as evidence. They later submitted it before the judicial commission, he said. "Had the Crime Branch conducted the inquiry properly, the girl would have got justice. Her mother and father were inconsolable and could not stop their tears, while her brother is scared," the minister said.