An Odisha cadre Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer who is in the US for a training course, has been taken into police custody at Pennsylvania for misbehaving with a woman in his hotel room.
Suresh Prasad Mohapatra (53), a 1986 batch officer, went to the US on July 7 as part of a group of 34 forest officers for a mid-career training workshop at New York’s Syracuse University. Mohapatra is the regional chief conservator of forests at Sambapur in Odisha.
The state government, however, said it was exactly not aware of the charges against Mohapatra amid reports that the Odisha-cadre officer had been accused of “wrongfully confining” a woman staffer at a hotel where he was put up.
Odisha forest and environment minister Debi Prasad Mishra confirmed that the state government received information that Mohapatra had been taken into custody. “We have talked to the Indian embassy in the US and are in touch with the union ministry for environment and forest. We will take further action after getting a detailed report,” Mishra said.
Odisha’s principal chief conservator of forests Priyanath Padhi said according to the available information, while Mohapatra was in his hotel room on Wednesday evening, he had some problem with the Internet connection. “After he called the reception, a woman came to his room to fix the problem but left without doing it. Later, the police came to the room and arrested him for wrongful confinement of the woman.”
Padhi also said the union ministry of environment was looking into the matter. “We are unable to directly speak to Mohapatra because of restrictions put by Pennsylvania police... I am waiting for feedback from the environment ministry.”
(With PTI inputs)