In a significant ruling, the Orissa High Court has slammed a senior police officer for "refusing to register an FIR" in a death case, and directed him to undergo fresh training for one month at the Biju Patnaik Police Academy in Bhubaneswar.

The inspector-in-charge (IIC) of Infocity Police Station was also banned from any field posting for one year by the high court, which, in an order on December 6, stated that the inaction shown by him is highly deplorable.

The single bench of Justice SK Panigrahi, in the order made available to the media on Thursday, also observed that institutional lethargy has crept into the system.

Advocate Shivasankar Mohanty appeared for the petitioner whereas AGA D. Mund appeared for the State.

The case pertains to the murder of one Anand Toppo (33).

Hockey player Birendra Lakra, a childhood friend of Toppo, is an accused in the case.

According to Toppo's father, Lakra had on February 28 informed him over the phone that his son was found lying unconscious at his Bhubaneswar flat.

The hockey player also said that he was taking Toppo to the hospital.

Toppo's father Bandhana later alleged that he was told a day later, on reaching Bhubaneswar from Rourkela, his son has died by suicide.

Bandhana, in his plea, said there was no suicide note and Toppo's body bore injury marks.

Suspecting foul play, he claimed that Lakra had something to do with his son's death.

The father also said that the police, despite his repeated requests, refused to register an FIR in the case, prompting him to approach the high court in October.

He also claimed that attempts were being made to shield Lakra, who had once served as a deputy superintendent of police in Odisha.

Notably, the Infocity police station acknowledged Bandhana's written complaint, a month after he moved the court, and registered an FIR on November 24.

Maintaining that such inaction by the police is an attempt to protect the accused, the single bench, in its December 6 order, directed the deputy commissioner of police in Bhubaneswar to personally monitor the investigation, keeping all influences at bay.

Justice Panigrahi also sought a final report in the case within three months.

Cause Title- Bandhana Toppo v. State of Odisha & Ors.

Click here to read/download Order

with PTI inputs