Manhandling of Collector: Investigations begin

A team from Crime Branch arrived here on Friday to investigate the alleged manhandling of Collector Mrinalini Darswal by Sambalpur District Bar Association (SDBA) members on April 23. The eight-member team met SP Nikhil Kanodia, who was absent on the day of the incident and the Additional Superintendent of Police, Dilip Kumar Deo, who had rescued the Collector from the bus.

While the CB team declined comment, a fact finding team of the High Court Bar Association led by its President Jayanta Das and President of All Odisha Lawyers Association Dharanidhar Nayak also visited Sambalpur on Friday to ascertain about the incident before taking a stand on the issue.

At a meeting held at the Sambalpur District Bar Association, both Das and Nayak condemned the arrest of 18 lawyers. The High Court Bar Association President described the incident as unfortunate. He said the team would meet IG of Police, District Collector besides other officials.

Meanwhile, the SDBA has resolved to stage a demonstration in front of the office of the Revenue Divisional Commissioner (ND) demanding arrest and suspension of the Collector, on Saturday.? They have also decided to observe the Lawyers Day by wearing black badges.

On the other hand, officials and employees of the district administration, who had resorted to ceasework expressing solidarity with the Collector, resumed their duties on Friday.

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