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Berhampur, March 17: Pronouncing its verdict on the infamous nun gangrape case during Kandhamal riots, the district judge court here Tuesday acquitted a person on want of sufficient evidence and negative medical test reports.
This was the first acquittal in the high profile case even as its trial continued at Berhampur. Ananga Pradhan was acquitted while the trial of the other three accused is on.
The acquittal came despite the victim personally appearing in the court and testifying that the accused had raped her in turns. However, the medical reports presented in the court negated the allegations.
Ananga, who was standing in the dock, panicked before the start of the court proceedings, cried in joy as the court pronounced its verdict. He went out of the dock after bowing to district judge Madhusudan Dhal.
The verdict shocked the advocates, who were confident that the accused will be punished. A total of 18 witnesses including doctors and police recorded their statements in the case.
It may be mentioned here that there were communal riots after Viswa Hindu Parishad leader Laxmanananda Saraswati was killed in August 23, 2008. A month later, the nun was raped while she had come to visit her grandfather at Gandanaju village under Tikabali police station.
After recording the statement of the victim, police arrested Ananga Pradhan, Ranga Pradhan, Babula Pradhan and Manoj Pradhan in a phased manner. The accused were released on bail after remaining four years in jail. While Ranga and Babula appear in court regularly, Manoj is absconding.
Even though the case was initially tried at Phulbani, the High Court shifted its trial to Berhampur after the victim filed an affidavit saying she might face problems in getting justice if the trial continued at Phulbani.
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