Balasore, Nov. 10: Baripada police arrested three persons, including a panchayat samiti chairman and a ward member’s husband, in connection with the rape of a 50-year-old woman.
The accused were sent to jail yesterday evening after their bail pleas were rejected.
The accused have been identified as Gobinda Hembram, 22, of Rasibholo village, Baripada Panchayat Samiti chairman Baidhar Marandi, 28, and Gobinda Murmu, 34, who happens to be the husband of a ward member.
While Hembram committed the crime last Tuesday, the two other accused persons tried to suppress the incident, said a source in the police.
Sub-divisional police officer Sudhakar Jena said: “Marandi and Murmu tried to make a compromise at the village level. All three were arrested and evidence was seized from the spot.”
The victim was raped while she was returning from the local market at Sikhar Hat. Finding the victim alone, Hembram not only raped her, but also seriously injured her.
The victim is undergoing treatment at the Baripada district headquarters hospital. Hospital sources described her condition as critical.
Marandi, who is a member of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, alleged there was a conspiracy behind his arrest.
Morcha spokesman Badal Mohanty said: “Marandi is being arrested because of the pressure of a particular political party. He has been trapped in this case.”
“Marandi had admitted the victim to the hospital and bore all expenses of her treatment. There was a meeting at the village to sort out the matter, which Marandi attended on the request of both the parties,” he said.