The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Budhia torture slur on coach, cuffed

Bhubaneswar, Aug. 13: Budhia Singh’s coach and guardian Biranchi Das was today arrested after the child prodigy levelled torture charges against him.

Budhia, who became the toast of Orissa after his incredible 65km run between Puri and Orissa in May 2006, went to Bargarh police station accompanied by his mother Sukanti to lodge a complaint.

“I was slapped and hung upside down from a ceiling fan. Sir (Biranchi) rubbed chilli powder in my eyes and poured cold water. He even branded my back and thigh with a hot metal rod,” Sukanti Singh wrote in the FIR quoting her five-year-old son. The widow said she learnt about the tortures on July 28.

“When I confronted him (Biranchi) on July 30, he misbehaved with me,” she further alleged. Sources said Budhia showed his injury marks to the police to substantiate the allegation.

City deputy superintendent of police (crime) Sarat Sahoo conceded Biranchi was booked under Sections 506, 341, 323 and 294 (IPC) and 23 of the Juvenile Justice Act and has been forwarded to the court of subdivisional judicial magistrate. Inspector in charge of Bargarh B.K. Patnaik said the marks on Budhia’s body were clear, but appeared old. The doctor at the Capital Hospital, where Budhia was taken for medical tests have said that the injuries were “at least three-month old”.

A visibly outwitted Das said all this was a “conspiracy” and pointed to women and child development minister Pramila Mallick. He called Budhia’s mother’s allegations “false” and provoked by Mallick. “How can I torture a child who I had picked from the gutter, adopted and developed as a marathon runner” he asked before adding: “He will return to me soon and fulfil dreams of becoming an Olympian runner.”

Das alleged that Budhia’s mother was peeved against him after he drove out her eldest daughter, a Judo trainee, who had an illicit affair with an inmate of the Judo Association.

Mallick said legal action would be initiated against Das on charges of torture.

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