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May 5, 2001 VNN6732 Related VNN StoriesComment on this story
Intimidation And Miscarriage Of Justice In Orissa
BY LEE ELSTON
INDIA, May 5 (VNN) Sambad Newspaper
Attention: Mr. Nilambar Rath
Dear Mr. Rath:
I am sure that you have heard about the case of my American son, William George Benedict, AKA Bhaktadas and the fact that he moved with his family to Puri April 2000 and in August 2000 he was arrested at the instigation of Mr. Tyaga Rajan, DIG of the Orissan Crime Branch after Mr. Rajan had persuaded Maria Schmidova, a Slovakian, resident of Austria who was in Puri thinking she was going to marry Mr. Ashook to make the false accusations. Mr. Ashook had jilted her and she was persuaded to bring the charge of a gang rape to her 6 year old daughter against him and 3 others. On the first FIR my son was not mentioned. But later, she went to his home, pointed to him and said"Arrest him". They did. Consequently he was put into the Puri jail.
His health suffered dreadfully and the doctor moved him in October to Kalinga Hospital in Bhubaneswar. It was there I visited him in December. At that time I also saw your Chief Officer, Mr. Naveen Patnaik. On the visit to the chief officer I was accompanied by my grandson Bhishma Benedict and a friend Mr.Cliff Bressler who had accompanied me. At that time Mr. Patnaik said "He would see what he cold do." We were hopeful!
But nothing happened and my son continued to be even refused bail. We finally brought a civil suit against Maria Schmidova who had returned to Austria, and in court, in front of witnesses she admitted having lied in all her accusations and that she had been put up to it. The results of the court hearing were notarized by the Austrian Court and by the Indian Embassy and forwarded on to Orissa. We thought that certainly with this evidence that he was totally innocent of all charges, he would at least be granted bail! But no such luck!
Instead, a friend of his Sudarshan dasa Mohapatra, has had members of the crime branch come to his home and threaten to put him and his wife in jail if they didn't go before the magistrate and say that my son and Mohapatra had gone to Bangkok last July with the purpose of selling a pornographic video. ! So now, it is not only my son in danger, but also others, all because a man by the name of Tyaga Rajan does not want to admit that he made a false arrest, or at least was responsible for such an arrest being made.
I expect that you as a good reporter will see the importance of this story. India alreay has a reputation for corruption, but this kind of intimidation smacks of Gestapo techniques and presents a danger to everyone.
I have written again to the Chief Officer, Mr. Patnai, also forwarded my letter to the U.S. Embassy, Mr. L.K. Advani, Justice Verna of the Human Righbts Commission and the Asian Human Rights Commission. I am ready to go to the Supreme Court of India and to the Prime Minister himself if necessary.
We have held our hand re media attention hoping for the best- but the time has come for the world to know.
If you need direct information from my son himself, he is still in Kalinga Hospital, Rm 143, although he was officially "discharged", without his knowledge, but allowed to stay if he gave the hospital managment 50,000 rupees by the end of the day. The police want him moved to the State Hospital in Cuttack and he is afraid if he goes there, his life may be taken. He feels that Mr. Tyaga Rajan would rather my son be dead that that Rajan be liable for having made a false arrest.
There is a story here- we don't want it to be a tragic one.
Most sincerely, Lee Elston, mother of William G. Benedict
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