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Odisha Crime branch seeks help of Facebook for clue in whistleblower's death case

ANI | Updated: Mar 11, 2021 19:18 IST

By Suchitra Kalyan Mohanty
New Delhi [India], March 11 (ANI): The Odisha CB-CID on Thursday informed the NHRC that it has asked the law enforcement response team, Facebook Security, California for the production of documents with respect to the Facebook account of Aditya Dash, a whistleblower who was allegedly killed on July 7, 2020, at Lingaraj Railway Station in Bhubaneswar.
The Odisha Crime Branch, Crime Investigation Department (CB-CID) has also sent a suicide note to the psychologist for analysis.
Requesting to unearth the mystery over the death of Dash, a motivational speaker, and human rights defender, Supreme Court lawyer and rights activist Radhakanta Tripathy had sought the intervention of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
Acting on the complaint filed by Tripathy, the NHRC passed the order and stated, "The Commissioner of Police, Bhubaneswar and Additional DG of Police, CIDCB, Odisha, Cuttack are directed to file the report within eight weeks positively, failing which the Commission shall be constrained to invoke the provisions of Section 13 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993."
The commission took cognisance on July 27, 2020, and called for action taken report from the concerned authority.
In pursuance of the same, two letters/reports of DCP (HQ) Bhubaneswar addressed to the Additional Director General of Police, CB-CID, Odisha, are received, asking them to file the requisite report.
First, the Government Railway Police (GRP) had registered a murder case over the issue. As wife and friends of the deceased are engaged in mudslinging, the cloak of mystery is yet to be lifted from the death of the social worker, who was receiving threats from criminals as he launched an anti-liquor agitation.
After the notice of the NHRC, the Director-General of Police chose to hand over the matter to the CB-CID for investigation. While investigating the case, the CB-CID has seized the CCTV footage of the railway station where Aditya died. The post-mortem report, his handwriting, diary have also been seized and are under the scrutiny of the crime branch.
The circumstantial evidence shrouds mystery over the death of the social activist. The delay in arresting the culprits, exposing the truth, uncover the mystery over the death pose a serious question of human rights as it involves the role of police, intelligence, and law and order of the state, Tripathy contended.
Tripathy, who has been fighting for the protection of human rights of the whistleblowers, RTI activists, journalists, and human rights defenders across the country, stated that the Odisha Police fails to save the activist from such attacks and extending appropriate safety, security to them pose a serious question of violation of human rights.
Failure of the state in implementing the provisions of Whistle Blowers Protection Act, 2013 in the state amounts to serious human rights violation, Tripathy alleged.
He requested the NHRC to ensure fair investigation by CBI or CB-CID of the state or by an independent team of experts immediately and uncover the mystery behind the death, ensure safety and security to all the whistleblowers, activists, and journalists.
The petition also sought direction from the NHRC for taking immediate legal action against the wrongdoers and pay adequate compensation not less than fifty lakhs, and safety and security to the family members of the slain activist.
Tripathy also requested the NHRC to direct the state authorities and the Lokayukta of the state to ensure the implementation of the Whistle-Blowers Protection Act, 2013 in letter and spirit at the earliest.
Sources said the matter may be taken up by the NHRC in the third week of March this year.
In the meantime, the parents of the deceased have moved before the Supreme Court for a CBI investigation of the case, as the crime branch is "not handling" the case properly.
The case is listed before the division bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Navin Sinha and Justice Krishna Murari on Friday, for a preliminary hearing into the case. (ANI)