मंगलवार, 22 अगस्त 2017

Fact-finding Report on Alleged torture against Subas Mohapatra, Human Rights Activist of Odisha

Fact-finding Report on Alleged Torture of Charulata Mohapatra  against Subas Mohapatra, Human Rights Activist, Odisha


1.Background

On 7.8.17, in an impromptu Press meet organised in Bhubaneswar, capital city of Odisha,  Charulata Mohapatra, claimed to be wife of  Subas Mohapatra, Human Rights Activist alleged  that Sri Mohapatra had married her following vedic rites and rituals on 29th  January, 2003. After 15 days of marriage, he and his mother started torturing her and demanded more dowries from her parents. Subas carried her to Chhatisgarh and continuously tortured her   and after 3 months of marriage,  when she was pregnant, Subas sent her  back to her parental house. Since that period, he is not in touch with her. Though he is blessed with a girl, Subas has never come to meet his daughter. Charulata also further alleged that without divorce, Subas married another girl Akriti Das in Raipur.  That marriage also did not last. Akriti had filed a case in Raipur Mahila police station and Subas was also arrested during that time. In the meantime, Subas had third marriage and staying in Bhubaneswar with his wife and two children. Findinging very difficult to sort out the issues with Subas after long persuasion by her parents, Charulata filed maintenance case in Puri family court.  The Court has disposed the case and directed Subas Mohapatra, husband to pay  Rs. 3,000.00 per month. But Subas has been ignoring the order of the Family court. When she lodged complaint to local police station, Subas along with another unidentified person abused her with slang language  and threatened  to murder her, unless she withdrew the case.

Having heard the news about allegation of a lady against Subas Mohapatra,  a known Human Rights Activist, the Activists’ groups got astonished, expressed  their concern and  wanted to find out fact which prompted  to form a fact-finding team  for a thorough investigation into the whole episode.  

2.The Members of Fact-findIng Team

A.   Pradip Pradhan, RTI Activist, Team Leader
B.    Sri Sudhir Mohanty, Advocate, Odisha High Court
C.    Sri Ashok Nanda, Social Activist  
D.   Smt. Sanjukta Panigrahi, Woman Activist

3. The issues before the Committee

a.    To ascertain the fact about allegation of torture made by Charulata Mohapatra against Subas Mohapatra.
b.    Circumstances or compulsion, if any leading to organise impromptu Press Meet by Charulata Mohapatra in Bhubaneswar on 7.8.17. 
c.     Timing and necessity of the Press Meet in Bhubaneswar and how it was thought of that  this Press Meet would help the  victim to get justice.
d.    Why FIR against Subas Mohapatra was filed in Kanas Police station on  7.8.17 at 9.50 PM after press meet when the incident occurred on 6.8.17 at 7 PM.  
e.    Involvement and interest of Mamata Samantaray of State Progressive Women Forum in this case.
f.     Exploring possibility of intervention of, if any required by Activist Group and taking stand on it.

4. Materials collected and relied  by the Team
a.    Copy of Press Release circulated in Press Meet organised by Mrs. Charulata Mohapatra on 7.8.17.
b.    Copy of Judgement of  District Judge court on Divorce petition of Subas Mohapatra,
c.     Copy of Judgement of Family Court on Petition of Maintenance filed by Charulata Mohapatra.
d.    Copy of FIR filed by Akriti Das, second wife  of  Subas Mohapatra wh ich was produced  by Mamata Samantara  and Basant Mohapatra,  father of Charulata Mohapatra.
e.    Proof Of  AirTicket  that Subas Mohapatra was in New Delhi

5. Persons interviewed
a.    Basant Mohapatra, Father of Charulata Mohapatra, victim
b.    Laxmipriya Mohapatra, Mother of Charulata Mohapatra
c.     Mamata Samantaray, Chairperson, State Progressive Women’s Forum , Bhubaneswar  who helped  Charulata to organise press meet in Bhubaneswar
d.    Subas Mohapatra, Human Rights Activist  against whom allegation has been made.
e.     Some villagers accompanied the Team during their visit  to residence of Mrs Charulata Mohapatra.

6. About Subas Mohapatara

As we know,  Subas Mohapatra  is a leading Human Rights Activist working on human rights issues  since few years. He belongs to Kalamati, a village under Gadishagada police station of Kanas block of Puri district.  Presently, he is working as Convener, National Campaign for Ending Corporate Abuse.  He has filed a lot of cases  of human rights violation in National Human Rights Commission, State Human Rights Commission  and UN Bodies.  Recently Sri Mohapatra has come to limelight  and drawn attention of  public  due  to  his filing  of Case no. 92/2016/EZ in National Green Tribunal, Kolkata against Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology  ( KIIT) and Kalinga Institute of Social Science (KISS), and its founder Achyut Samant for illegally grabbing precious forest land  in Bhubaneswar  and obtained order of NGT  on 21st March 2017  to State Govt. to  demarcate  and acquire the land and undertake  fencing around the land.  It deserves to be mentioned here that As per CAG Report, more than 100 acres of land has been allotted  to KIIT by Dept. of General Administration and IDCO, Bhubaneswar. Leasing out of 82 acres of land is illegal and acquired by Achyut Samant through fraudulent means. Besides that,  as per RTI information, Sri Samant has also acquired  around 30 acres of forest land  illegally  without any permission  from Dept. of  Forest and Environment ,  Revenue and Disaster Management Dept. of Govt. of Odisha  and Ministry  of Environment and Forest, Govt. of India.  Secondly, Sri Mohapatra has also filed another case Writ Petition Case No. 12392/2016 and Misc. case 13575/2017 in Odisha High Court against Sri Nabin Patnaik, Chief Minister and President, Biju Janata Dal for using Hawala money   during election.  Hearing the case, the High Court has already issued notice to Election Commission of India to enquire into the allegation against Sri Nabin Patnaik.  BJD team quite disturbed over the allegation and case filed by Subas Mohapatra in High Court.  Since day 1 of  filling of case, both Nabin Patnaik,   Chief Minister   and Achyut Samant,  founder, Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology      (KIIT)   and their coterie  are trying hard to conspire and demoralise  Subas Mohapatra  by booking    him  on false case or take any extreme  step against him  which  was reflected  in a national TV Live discussion  in which Pinaki Mishra, MP openly  threatened  him of dire consequence.

7. Visit of Fact-finding Team

In this backdrop, on 14.8.17, the 4-member Fact-finding Team visited Kanas block headquarter to meet Charulata Mohapatra, wife of Subas Mohapatra. After reaching in their home, the Team briefed the parents of Charulata  Mohapatra  about purpose of their visit  and wanted to meet her. Intitally, we were told that  Charulata would meet us  and later on  the parents said that she had gone to Bhubaneswar. The Team could not get opportunity to meet Charulata. However, her parents responded all the queries of the Team and shared details of information about incident of disturbance, conflict, suffering of her daughter, pain and agony experienced by them since 13 years  etc.  The gist of discussion with parents of Charulata Sri Basant Moapatra, father and Laxmipriya Nayak, Mother  is as follows.

“ This was arranged marriage and solemnised  on 29th  January, 2003.  Prior to marriage,  the parents were appraised  that  their groom  is highly educated and working  in NGO in Chhatisgarh.  Subas  had demanded  dowry of Rs. 1 lakh.  Basant Mohapatra had given  Rs. 70,000.00 and assured him to give rest amount   Rs. 30,000.00 after arrangement. After 15 days of marriage, Subas started torturing her wife Charulata to get rest of dowry money.  Smt.  Charulata returned back to her home. However, Basant Mohapatra, father-in-law   gave rest amount by selling landed property and sent her daughter to father-in-law’s house. After few days, Subas Mohapatra, son-in-law started again torturing her. Finally she returned back to home. At that time, she was pregnant. Since then,  Charularata  had not  gone to her in-law’s house.  However, the parents of Charulata and their family members have taken several attempts to resolve the issue and pursued Subas for amicable settlements, but in vain.”   At last,  after eight years,  Charulata filed  an FIR  of physical  torture, harassment and dowry torture  against Subas Mohapatra in  Gadishagada police station under Kanas Block  in 2011 ( Case No.-15/2011 dated 14.2.2011. The case was registered under section 494,109, 406, 498 of IPC. Subas was arrested by police and forwarded to jail.  

The team members were presented few documents along with Court order.  While reviewing the Court order, the Team members found that that Subas Mohapatra had filed a divorce petition case no. 418/2003 on 4.6.2003 in the court of S.D.J.M., Puri  which was rejected on 10.4.2007.  Then Subas filed Appeal petition case No. RAF 54/2007 which was rejected by District Court   on 25.10.2013.  So the Court has not accepted the divorce petition of Subas Mohapatra. Charulata still enjoys the status of wife of Subas Mohapatra.  On the other hand, Charulata has filed a Maintenance case No. CRP-29/2011 on 14.2.2011. The Family Court, while disposing the case on 15.9.2011, directed   Subas Mohapatra to pay maintenance at the rate of Rs. 3,000.00 per month    to Charulata Mohapatra and his daughter from the date of filling of the petition i.e., 14.2.2011.  The fact is  Smt. Charulata as   the legal wife of  Sri Subas Mohapatra is  undisputed  in the eye of law today.

From another document, it was also observed that Subas had married another girl named Akriti Das, D/O- Nilakantha Das of Raipur.  That marriage also could not last.  When Akriti came to know that Subas  was  having wife and a daughter, she got enraged  and filed FIR in Raipur Mahila Police station on 12.12.2008. The case was registered as case No. 41/2008 under section 498(1) and 506 of IPC. There was another case filed in Rajendra Nagar police station in 2009.  Arrest warrant was also issued against Subas during that time.  Though the Team members tried to know the status of the case, the family could not provide any documents. However, while ending the discussion with the parents of Charulata Mohapatra, the Team members assured them to provide support, in case anything required in order to give her justice. 

The Team were also appraised about FIR lodged against Subas Mohapatra   in Kanas Police station. The Team members visited Kanas Police station at around 3.30 pm and enquired about the case.  The Assistant Sub-Inspector said that an FIR   had been filed  by Charulata Mohapatra on 7.8.17 at 9.50 PM.  The content of the FIR is that On 6.8.17,   While Charulata  was on her wayback to her house  in Kanas market in the evening at 7 PM, Motor-byke borne Subas Mohapatra along with an unidentified youth  obstructed and  abused her with slang langage and threatened  her to murder at gun point, unless she withdrew the case.  The police has registered the case  under section 341,323,294,354,506,494 of IPC and  34 of Arms Act. The police has started investigation.  The Team members    hovered over  if the incidence took place on 6th August, 2017 at 7 pm, why the FIR  was not  immediately  filed when  Kanas police station is just  half km away  from her house.  Secondly, why Charulata suddenly organised  Press Meet on 7.8.17. In the press release, she has mentioned  about the incidence of threats  given by Subas  on 6.8.17 at 7 PM and  FIR  is filed  in Gadishagada police station in this regard. It means  that the place of occurrence of incidence   is under PS  Gadishagada  which is the police station  of Subas Mohapatra. But as per record available, FIR was practically  filed in Kanas Police station on 7.8.17 at 9.50 pm after she returned  to home finishing press meet in Bhubaneswar.

7. Meeting with Mamata Samantaray, President, SPWF, Odisha

On the way back to Bhubaneswar from Kanas, the Team  met Mamata Samantaray in her residence  at 5 PM.   Mamata was appraised  about the purpose of  meeting of the Team members. Mamata  was asked the following few  questions.
·      How Mamata came into  contact  with Charulata Mohapatra, wife of Subas Mohapatra
·      Timing of the  Press Meet   which was organised  in Bhubaneswar  to highlight  a 13 year old case.  
·        What benefit   you and Charulata  were  expecting  from Press Meet.
·      How the Press Meet  would help  Charulata to get justice.

Mamata said that  her organisation  is a state-level  organisation having  its membership base  in every block of the state, mostly from among  SHG leaders.  The women leaders  of  Kanas block  of Puri district had appraised  this matter  several times and  sought her support  to give justice to Charulata. That’s why she had organised   the press meet.  On query about how the Press meet helped her to get justice, she could not respond properly. Rather she continued to talk emotionally, describing harassment and problem confronted by Charulata   which was not our  cup of tea. On query about what type of justice she was expecting from Press Meet when all the court judgements are in favour of Charulata, Mamata could not respond effectively. Rather she told that she only created space for Charulata  to speak to press and was unaware  about details.

8. Response  from Subas Mohapatra, Human Rights Activist and Husband of Charulata Mohapatra

As Sri Subas  Mohapatra claims  staying in New Delhi,  some  clarification and  response of Subas Mohapatra was sought   through E-mail. The following questions were sought from  Sri Mohapatra.  

a.    Response about allegation and charges levelled by Charulata Mohapatra, his wife against him  and reason  of divorce, non-payment of maintenance  to her wife.
b.     Authenticity  about his threats to Charulata Mohapatra on 6.8.17 at Kanas Market
c.     Allegation  of second marriage to Akriti  Das  of Raipur
d.    Has he challenged in apex court the judgement of rejection of Divorce petition by District Court and Family Court order on maintenance cost. 

Subas responded to our query letter through e-mail and provided some documents. He shared copy of FIR filed in Kanas Police station dated 13.8.17 and copy of online acknowledgement receipt of FIR by Kanas police station. It was found from content of FIR that Subas Mohapatra had filed FIR in Kanas Police station against Charulata Mohapatra and others.  A copy of FIR and acknowledgement receipt of FIR by Kanas Police station is attached. Subas denied allegation of making physical attack on Charulata Mohapatra  of Kanas/ Gadishagada  and said that  he was in Delhi on the date of alleged incident.  He has also provided copy of boarding pass from Delhi to Srinagar on 1.8.17 and   return   from Srinagar to New Delhi on 5.8.17 claiming to be on journalistic assignment from Cobra Post.  He has sent family photograph of claiming that to be of  Akriti Das / Akriti Shukla. He says that he has challenged district court order at higher level but  has not sent any supportive document in this regard.

Our findings

A.   It is fact that Subas Mohapatra had married Charulata Mohapatra and filed divorce petition in 2003 in the court. The document revealed that Sri Mohapatra  has not yet responded  court order in respect of maintenance as well as divorce. Smt. Charulata has every right to fight out the case in order to get justice.  She should continue  to fight this case. We are of the view that law should take its own course to a logical conclusion in this regard. All possible remedies  may be taken to safeguard the interest of Smt. Charulata.

B.    In the press release distributed in the press meet, it is mentioned that  Subas   threatened her  to murder at gunpoint  to withdraw the case on 6.8.17  at 7 PM  in Kanas Market.  In fact,  there is no such case pending  against  Subas Mohapatra  in any court. The judgement of two  courts i.e., District Judge Court and Family Court, Puri  is in favour of Charulata.  So  it seems this is a manufactured story   and a ploy  to  harass  and defame Subas Mohapatra.

C.    While addressing press meet organised on 7.8.17,  Smt. Charulata  had said that  After threats of attack, she had filed FIR in  Gadishagada police station.  But   FIR  has been filed  in Kanas police station  on 7.8.17  at 9.50 pm after finishing press meet.  We are of the view that it is a false   and fabricated case to demoralise and harass Subas Mohapatra.

D.   The Press Meet is an arranged one to demoralise Subas Mohapatra  and or other RTI Activists  those are  fighting  against corruption in administration and Achyut Samant of KIIT  disclosing illegalities  of powerful people  in the state.

E.     When  a person , irrespective of his or her family problem is fighting against  Sri Nabin Patnaik, all powerful Chief Minister and  Sri Achyut Samant , a biggest land grabber , he or she  should not  be demoralised  by way of filling of false case   and threats of arrest. We are  with Subas  Mohapatra  in his  fight  against Nabin Patnaik, Chief Minister, Odisha  and Achyut Samant, a man masterminded  all types of illegalities  in the state.

F.    We  are of  the view that   RTI Activists and Human Rights Activists  who are facing similar kind of harassment and  threats from State power or vested  groups like Achyut Samant, biggest  land grabber   must be  provided all supports  and encouraged  to  carry  their mission in the greater interest of the state.  Because during Nabin Patnaik regime, the economy of the state has been disastrous.  The socio-economic condition of the common people has been devastating. Odisha still stands as poorest state in the country. When opposition political parties have failed to discharge their duties, RTI Activists and Human Rights Activists  have shouldered the responsibility  to  save the state  from clutches  of Mining mafia, land mafia  and  corrupt politicians and bureaucrats. The people of Odisha must stand behind them.

Pradip Pradhan                                                                                                                 Ashok Nanda
RTI Activist                                                                                                                         Social Activist
M-9937843482                                                                                                                   M- 9437005133                                                 



Sudhir Mohanty                                                                                                               Sanjukta Panigrahi
Advocate, Odisha High Court                                                                                     Woman Activist
M-9861063290                                                                                                                   M- 9238598756

Date of  Release of Report: 22.8.17




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