OP SILENT VIPER: Prime accused in sensational Baranga gang-rape case nabbed after 2 decades

OP SILENT VIPER: Prime accused in sensational Baranga gang-rape case nabbed after 2 decades

Bhubaneswar: The prime accused in the sensational gang-rape case involving the estranged wife of an IFS officer that led to the resignation of then chief minister J B Patnaik in 1999 was nabbed from Maharashtra, police said on Monday.
Bibekananda Biswal alias Biban was arrested from Aamby Valley in Lonavala in Maharashtra, announced Bhubaneswar-Cuttack’s Commissioner of Police Sudhanshu Sarangi. Biban, the prime accused in the case, was working there as a plumber under the fake identity of Jalandhar Swain, he said.
“During the investigation, we came to know that the prime accused is residing at Aamby Valley in Lonavala on Mumbai-Pune road. He was working as a plumber and had changed his name to Jalandhar Swain. He had mentioned Naranpur in Cuttack as his permanent address. Investigation revealed that there is no Jalandhar Swain in Naranpur,” said Sarangi. He had a permanent job, Aadhaar card and bank account there. He was in contact with his family members, said the Police Commissioner.
“Operation Silent Viper” was launched three months back to nab the accused, following which the detention could be made, the officer added. The incident had created a State-wide outrage, leading to the resignation of the then chief minister.
Three persons were accused in the case — while two persons were arrested and convicted, Biban remained elusive for more than two decades, officials said. Pradip Sahu alias Padia, a convict in the case, had died while undergoing treatment at Capital Hospital here in February last year.
Padia was the first to be arrested in the case after the survivor identified him on January 15, 1999. In 2002, the Khurda District Sessions judge convicted him and Tuna Mohanty, sentencing them to life imprisonment. The High Court in 2010 had upheld the verdict.
The three persons had waylaid the woman and raped her for hours at a place near Baranga, about 15 km from Bhubaneswar, on the intervening night of January 9-10 in 1999. The woman was on her way to Cuttack along with a journalist-friend in a car.
The CBI, which was entrusted by the Orissa High Court to investigate the case, has maintained that the trio had raped her. The police will now hand over Biban to CBI, who will officially arrest him, sources said.
The woman demanded capital punishment for the prime accused in the case.

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