Odisha Crime Branch To Get Witness Protection Cell

The Odisha government has decided to set up a dedicated Witness Protection Cell at the State Crime Branch office in Cuttack, in a bid to ensure the safety of key witnesses. It has been declared that the State can extend all facilities and help available to witnesses under the newly drafted Witness Protection Scheme, 2019.

“I have declared the Crime Branch office as the witness protection cell of the state. It will remain dedicated to implementing the scheme in letter and spirit. The Crime Branch SP will act as the nodal officer and coordinate with the district police,” director general of police (DGP) Abhay said. An order in this regard has also been released.

The witness protection scheme was introduced in July last year by the state government. It intends to ensure a free and fair trial in courts, by extending protection to witnesses from getting swayed by influential or accused persons.

Sources within the Crime Branch have said that fresh advisories would be issued to all the Superintendents of Police (SPs), Inspector-Generals (IGs), and Deputy-Inspector Generals (DIGs) of all police ranges across the state, briefing them on their duties and responsibilities for proper implementation of the scheme.

Under the guidelines, the police will install security devices in the homes of the witnesses, whose identity is to be concealed at all times. Apart from regular patrolling outside the witness’s house, the person will be escorted to and from the courts amidst tight security. The measures ensure that during the course of a trial or investigation, the witness and the accused do not come face-to-face.

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