Odisha teacher’s belongings found; charred remains sent for DNA test

The main accused was arrested from a sugarcane field later in the day, hours after the police released his posters declaring him wanted, and announced a Rs 1 lakh reward for information on him.

Eleven days after a 24-year-old school teacher went missing, police recovered her ornaments and other belongings along with charred remains from an under-construction stadium in Kalahandi district of Odisha on Tuesday. The main accused was arrested from a sugarcane field later in the day, hours after the police released his posters declaring him wanted, and announced a Rs 1 lakh reward for information on him. They also detained the driver of an earthmover machine which was allegedly used to dig the pit to bury the body.

While the woman’s family identified her belongings, the charred remains have been sent for DNA testing, police said. They zeroed in on the site after the associates of the suspect, rounded up for questioning, revealed that he was last spotted with the deceased near the under-construction stadium.

“The skeletal remains have been sent for DNA testing… The suspect is being interrogated and we will file a murder case after confirmation [of the identity],” DIG, North Deepak Kumar said.

The accused is the president of the managing committee of the school where the teacher was employed. According to the police, the teacher went missing on October 8 after she left home to allegedly meet the accused. Her family filed an abduction complaint against him on October 13.

“We approached the police after failing to find her ourselves. My sister knew of his wrongdoings and wanted to expose him. We suspect he abducted her and did something to her. He was the last person she spoke to over the phone and had gone to meet him,” the brother of the deceased, also the complainant, alleged.

The incident has snowballed into a political slugfest with the Opposition demanding the ouster of Minister of State for Home Dibya Shankar Mishra. The Opposition has alleged that Mishra is shielding the accused.

Denying the allegations, Mishra said the law will take its own course.

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