Subhashree Panda case: Jolted govt mulls ‘face saver’ formula

BHUBANESWAR: Having suffered a jolt following the Orissa high court quashing proceedings against Subhashree Panda, the crime branch of state police is contemplating to move the state government for fresh sanction to file a charge-sheet against the arrested Maoist cadre, official sources said on Thursday.

The high court on Wednesday quashed proceedings against Subhashree alias Mili, wife of top guerilla Sabyasachi Panda, on grounds that the state government erred in giving sanction for filing of charge-sheet against the accused in consonance with provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). This gave relief to Subhashree, who was arrested on the night of January 14, 2010, from the outskirts of Bhubaneswar for alleged involvement in activities of the outlawed CPI (Maoist). Along with her, police nabbed Sangram Bhola and Kishore Jena and claimed to have seized huge quantity of Maoist literature, two laptops, cameras, mobile phones and some cash and gold ornaments from the trio. While Sangram is out on bail, Subhashree and Kishore are currently lodged in the special jail at Jharpada here. This is the first case under UAPA in Orissa.

Official sources said the state government, in a bid to overcome the embarrassment following the high court ruling, is consulting legal experts to work out a face saving formula. “We are weighing different options,” said additional director general, crime branch, Abhay.

The government, official sources said, can move high court requesting review of its decision, appeal against the high court order or seek fresh sanction from the state government to file a fresh charge-sheet against Subhashree. “The high court has quashed the cognizance given by the fast tract court of ad hoc additional district judge, Khurda, to the charge-sheet filed by crime branch in the case,” a source pointed out, adding, “Police is considering getting fresh sanction from the government to file a fresh charge-sheet in the case.”

Under the UAPA, the state government should appoint an officer to make an independent review of evidences gathered in the course of investigation against the accused, but in the said case the procedure was violated, the high court observed. “In case the right procedure was not followed, we can certainly remedy it,” chief secretary Bijay Patnaik said.

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