Orissa CB team leaves for Delhi to interrogate nun in rape case

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Bhubaneswar, Nov 17 (UNI) A four-member Orissa Crime Branch police team today left for Delhi to interrogate the nun who was allegedly raped in the strife-torn Kandhamal during the communal violence on August 25, two days after VHP leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his disciples were gunned down by unknown assailants.

The visit of the CB team to Delhi has assumed much significance as a local court in Baliguda in Kandhamal district has directed the nun to appear in person on November 19 to assist in the test identification(TI) parade of the nine accused arrested in connection with the rape case.

The CB sources said it had established communication with the nun, who has been staying in Delhi and she has agreed to cooperate with the investigation process.

Earlier, a special police team, led by Inspector General B Radhika went to Delhi to meet her but returned empty-handed without tracing her, despite all efforts.

The Resident Commissioner of Orissa government, posted in Delhi, also tried in the past to establish contact with the nun but remained unsuccessful.

The nun had filed an FIR with the Baliguda Police station on August 26 and then remained untraced till October 24, when she appeared before the media in Delhi to reiterate her demand for a CBI probe into the incident stating that she had ''lost faith in the Orissa police''.

Archbishop of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar Raphael Cheenath also moved a petition before the apex court, seeking a CBI probe but the court rejected such an appeal and asked the nun to assist the investigating team of the Crime Branch police.

The nun had also requested for the TI parade outside Orissa but her plea was rejected by the Baliguda SDJM court which had asked her to appear in person on November 10 for the TI parade.

The counsel for the nun appeared before the Baliguda SDJM to seek one month's time and allow the TI parade outside the state but the court rejected the appeal and asked the nun to appear on November 19 for TI parade at Baliguda.

The CB police have so far arrested nine people, including three from Palghat in Kerala, in connection with the alleged rape of the nun.

The state government had placed under suspension Baliguda Police Station Officer in Charge K M Rao and five other policemen of Orissa State Armed Police(OSAP), including an Assistant Sub Inspector for dereliction of duty.

The nun had alleged that the Orissa police remained a mute spectator and did not come to her rescue, when she was dragged and paraded by the accused on the street.

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