A furore had erupted then when the Opposition targeted the then Congress Chief Minister late JB Patnaik of shielding Ray. Incidentally, the rivals of JB Patnaik orchestrated protests throughout the state attributing the rape as the handiwork of the chief minister and Ray to teach Mishra a lesson.
By Srimoy Kar
The long arm of the law has finally caught up with Biban alias Bibekananda Biswal, hunted for the last 22 years for the gruesome Anjana Mishra gang rape case. The long search came to an end at last after the Commissionerate of Police for Bhubaneswar and Cuttack found him from Amby Valley near Lonavala in Maharastra where he was leading a normal life as a plumbing mechanic. He had, of course, acquired a new identity for himself as Jalandhar Swain to dodge the police with an adhar card and bank account by the new name.
His script to fool the law echoes many movie stories and he even wanted his family, with whom he had very cunningly stayed in touch, to obtain a death certificate in his old name. Infact, many presumed that Biban, the prime accused in the rape case, to be dead after he remained untraceable even by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which was handed over the case on the direction of Orissa High Court. His two other accomplices Padia and Tunia were sentenced to life imprisonment. Padia, however, succumbed to illness last year.
His arrest is no doubt a huge success for Odisha Police particularly for the Commissioner of Police for Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, Sudhanshu Sarangi who personally supervised the `Operation Silent Viper` to nab Biban with the help of four officers. An issue which was long forgotten was revived by Sarangi three months ago and he has rightly claimed that with this arrest the trust for the police has increased manifold as the elusive Biban had caused the investigative agencies many a sleepless night. It would, therefore, be no exaggeration to say that this is by far the most sensational catch for the Commissionerate of Police since its inception in 2008.
The high profile Anjana Mishra rape case which occurred on the night of January 9, 1999 near Barang after the taxi in which she was travelling with her journalist friend was waylaid by Biban, Padia and Tunia created a ruckus across the country. Prior to this unfortunate incident, Mishra was in the limelight for levelling a charge against the then Advocate General late Indrajit Ray of molesting her. A furore had erupted then when the Opposition targeted the then Congress Chief Minister late J.B.Patnaik of shielding Ray. Incidentally, the rivals of J.B.Patnaik orchestrated protests throughout the state attributing the rape as the handiwork of the chief minister and Ray to teach Mishra a lesson. Anjana rape case was one of the two major reasons alongside the murder of Australian Missionary Graham Staines and his two children for which J.B.Patnaik lost his job.
Biban drove the taxi to a lonely stretch while his two associates followed in their scooter along with the taxi driver. He was the first to rape her and she was abused for close to three hours in two locations by all three.
Justice delayed is justice denied but in this case it is different. Anjana should be the happiest for, at long last, the police pulled out a miracle by bringing an end to the mysterious and elusive run of Biban.
The author is former Resident Editor of New Indian Express. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
(DISCLAIMER: This is an opinion piece. The views expressed are the author’s own and have nothing to do with Prameya News)