Bhubaneswar, Oct 16 (UNI) Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today refused to hand over the case of alleged gang rape of a nun during the recent communal violence in Kandhmal district to the CBI stating that the matter was subjudice.
''The case is pending in the Apex court,'' Mr Patnaik said when asked by newsmen about his reaction to the nun's reported demand to hold a CBI probe into the incident.
The chief minister also neither confirmed nor denied receipt of a letter written by the nun to him, as reported in a section of the press, in which she had stated that she would be happy if the matter was handed over to the CBI.
The nun remains untraced ever since she had filed an FIR with the Baliguda police station alleging that she was raped on the 'Orissa Bandh' day on August 25, two days after VHP leader Swami Laxmananda Saraswati and four of his disciples were gunned down by unknown assailants,triggering communal violence in Kandhmal.
The Naveen Patnaik government, however, had ordered a Crime Branch inquiry into the incident and suspended Baliguda police station in-charge K M Rao on the charge of dereliction of duty.
The Crime Branch, probing the shocking incident,had so far arrested eight people,five from the trouble-torn Kandhmal and three from Palghat in Kerla.Two of them are supposed to be the prime accused.
But in the absence of the nun,Crime Branch police were finding it difficult to proceed.
The victim had not named anyone in the FIR and was not responding to police request to appear in person and cooperate with the investigation.
Orissa Director General of Police M M Praharaj had even assured her of providing all assistance and security during her visit to the state to join the investigation process.
Acting on a tip off that the nun was staying in a church in New Delhi, a special police team, led by Inspector General B Radhika, recently rushed to Delhi to meet her but returned without establishing any contact.The Additional Resident Commissioner posted in Delhi also tried to trace the nun but in vain.
Christian leaders in Orissa refused to divulge details of the whereabouts of the nun but maintained that she would certainly cooperate with the investigation provided she was convinced of a proper atmosphere to do so.
Crime Branch police sources said the investigating team was unable to conduct the TI parade of all the eight arrested due to non appearance of the victim.
When contacted by newsmen, Bhubaneswar-Cuttack Bishop Raphel Cheenath said the nun was yet to recover from the trauma.Sources said the nun, a resident of Western Orissa, was staying in a church in Kerala.
UNI DP PL RN1706