Report by Badal Tah; Rayagada: Hundreds of tribal men and women under the aegis of Adibasi Mahasangha, Rayagada congregated in front of SP’s office at Rayagada and presented a memorandum to the President of India through SP, Rayagada. The assembly was led by tribal leaders and Mahasangh’s office bearers namely Sri Basanta Ulaka & Sri Appalaswamy Kadraka. Sri Tapan Narayan Rath, Sub-Divisional Police Officer, Rayagada received the memorandum which demanded a CBI inquiry into the death of Late Bhagirathi Mandingi.
According to a press release by the Mahasangha, late Bhagirathi, a crusader against corruption & irregularities in the Majhighariani Temple Trust, was himself a member in the Trust itself. He raised questions about the misappropriation by the Managing Trustee, who happened to be the brother of Sri N Bhaskar Rao, presently officiating as Rajya Sabha MP. After receiving a telephonic message from the temple managing committee for a meeting scheduled on 15-12-2010, Bhagirathi drove to the temple with his motorbike; but unfortunately he went missing though his motor bike was parked in front of the temple. After three days his charred body was found floating on a river dam in the adjacent state of Andhra Pradesh.
Mahasangha members put the blame on Sri N Bhaskar Rao for hatching a plot in murdering Bhagirathi. They also blame the police for taking no action against the perpetrators of the crime. The Crime Branch-CID inquiry was also a futile exercise under the influence of Rao, who belonged to ruling BJD party. Mahasangha members had alleged that because of the inefficient law enforcing agencies of the state govt, the culprits were still scot free since last ten years. The members had requested the President of India to intervene & institute a CBI inquiry in stead of CB-CID and render justice to the poor tribals.
It may be noted that during August 2018, former minister and Koraput Ex-MP and Mahasangha leader Sri Basanta Ulaka met Petroleum & Natural Gas Minister Sri Dharmendra Pradhan in Delhi and Pradhan requested Home Minister Sri Rajanath Singh to take up Mandingi’s case by CBI. “Nobody knows the status of the written request to a central minister by another central minister. In stead of following up at the level of those central ministers, again raising the issue of CBI inquiry by Mahasangha after more than one year seems mechanical and may not lead to a logical end”, said Smt Bidulata Huika, State Convenor of Odisha Adibasi Manch.
Rao vehemently refutes the charges as he had done the same earlier. He said these allegations had become old. “I have also lost two of my brothers, who were murdered in broad daylight within the temple premises. The same CB-CID inquired into the tragic incident. The matter was sub-judice. There is no question of exerting influence. I have high regards for the law enforcing agencies, be they of state or centre. I believe in the mantra of my leader and mentor CM Sri Naveen Pattanaik : law will take its own course. I am a law abiding person and prepared to face any kind of investigation. Time is the healing process & Almighty is the final judge”, said Rao.