Forgery on Gopabandhu’s Will: Cuttack District Judge Office looks like its breeding bed! Orissa High Court should look at it

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Article 227 of the Constitution of India has given the power of superintendence over all the Courts of a State to the State’s High Court. Therefore, I urge upon the High Court of Orissa to look at what has happened in the office of the Cuttack District Judge in the matter of the State’s most precious document – the last Will of Utkalmani Pundit Gopabandhu Das. The said office of judiciary looks like a breeding bed of forgery.

People’s faith in judiciary will be lost if influential persons freely tamper with or replace an original Will with forged ones and/or escape law by using the fake/forged Will in legal forums by projecting the same as the certified copies thereof granted by the District Judge.

The offense is too serious to be ignored

 I have discussed in these pages why I suspect that Gopabandhu’s last Will has been suppressed or destroyed by Radhanath Rath, a servant of Gopabandhu, who thereafter had eventually grabbed the editorship of his co-founded paper -The Samaja – after manufacturing a forged Will of Gopabandhu with the help of Lingaraj Mishra; and how the Servants of the People Society (SoPS) has taken over the Samaja to its ownership by using the same forged Will.

In order to reach the reality, I had tried to legally obtain a certified copy of Gopabandhu’s Will, projected as probated by the District Judge of Cuttack in Misc. Case No. 42 of 1928. I had filed the application for the certified copy on 21 August 2013, which was registered as Copy Application No. 353A.

As the same did not fetch any result till 7 April 2014, despite meeting the District Judge in his chamber several times, the President of Utkalmani Newspaper Employees Association Sri Deviprasanna Nayak, deeply affected by the question raised in these pages over authenticity of ownership of Samaja, in order to know the truth, used RTI to know of the whereabouts of the Probated Will of Gopabandhu.

In answering to the RTI query, the Asst. Public Information Officer-cum-Sheristadar, District Judge Court, Cuttack has informed that “the Will of Pundit Gopabandhu Das probated in Misc. Case 42/1928 is not available” as the said Will “has been sent to the Office of the District Judge, Berhampur and received by the Sheristadar of the said Office on 02.04.1936.” After release of this RTI information, I was informed by the Dist. Judge Office that my application for copy of the Will has already been rejected on finding that the same is not available.

This information makes the situation more intriguing, as I have found out in course of research that the same office of the District Judge, Cuttack has issued a certified true copy of the probated Will on 9.1.1996 to an applicant, which has been used in a case. We have located, at the typing stage of this copy, there was attempt to tamper with the text. When either the Comparer or the Certifying officer located the tampering, the same was undone by applying white paint on the intentionally and wrongfully typed portion and thereafter, on the white paint, the correction, as per the text of the probated copy of the Will preserved in the records of the District Court, was inscribed.

When the Will is “not available” in the office of the District judge, Cuttack since 2.4.1936, as it has been “sent to the Office of the District Judge, Berhampur and received by the Sheristadar of the said Office” on that date, because of which my application dated 21 .08.2013 for a certified copy of the Will has been rejected in April 2014 after at least a 8 months long search, how could the said District Judge issued a stamped certified copy of the Will on 9.1.1996, bearing the attempted tampering and correction therein?

Was it then manufactured in the District Judge Office?

This question needs be looked into by the High Court of Orissa, along with who had tried to tamper with the text thereof, which had been foiled by the District Court.

A further point that deserves attention is that, on 20.9.1930, a copy of the forged Will was generated in the Cuttack District Judge office with rubber stamps of the Court affixed thereon, with notes discernible on its page that says, the same is copied to Book No IX at Serial No.15.

The rubber-stamped copy does not carry the signature of the District Judge who granted the probate.

When this rubber-stamped copy shows that it was “filed on 15th December 1928 and was prepared on 20.9.1930, another copy of the Will, used by the SoPS as certified copy of the Will in the High Court of Delhi, shows that the same was probated on 7.9.1929 and copied on 28.2.1954.. If the Will of Gopabandhu is not available in the Office of the District Judge, Cuttack since 2.4.1936, where from this so-called true copy dated 28.2.1954 also emanated?

More intriguing is the fact that the tampering attempted on 9.1.1996 on the copy of the Will tallies with the copy of the forged Will dated 28.2.1954 filed by Servants of the People Society before the Delhi High Court in Suit No.152/96.

Radhanath Rath was ruling the roost in the Samaja in 1996. He knew that he and Lingaraj Mishra had forged the Will, He also knew that, the forged copy of the Will he was using, was not a stamped certified copy, therefore, has no evidentiary value. But having benefitted so immensely by using the forged Will, he was not daring to tell the Delhi High Court that the copy of the Will placed before it by the SoPS was not the copy of the probated Will, even though SoPS was using that copy of the forged Will against him in Suit No. 152/96.

On the other hand, SoPS had manufactured the copy of the forged Will on 28.2.1954 to meet the requirement of Audit Bureau of Circulation for membership. Establishment of ownership was necessary to become a member of ABC. But the forged copy of the Will that Rath had procured in 1930 was not traceable at that time. Therefore, on 28.2.1954, the forged copy was again manufactured from the handwritten copy of the forged will preserved by Rathanath Rath. It tallies eith the handwritten copy of the forged Will published later in Samaja on 7.7.1986.

In his last part of life,Rath not only handed over the Samaja management to his son-in-law Padarabinda Mohapatra, but also handed over editorial responsibility to his daughter Manorama Mohapatra by arranging her induction into hierarchy of SoPS through manipulations. This ignited conflict between him and the SoPS. He knew that Gopabandhu had never given the samaja to SoPS. It was he and Lingaraj Mishra who had forged the will to grab the Samaja under cover of SoPS. So, he dissolved the Board of Management of Samaja which the SoPS had created. SoPS challenged him in the Delhi High Court using the forged copy of the Will Rath had created on the solid assumption that Rath cannot challenge the said Will in that Court.

But, the SoPS also knows that copy of the Will it had filed in the Court was a copy of the forged Will. Elsewhere in these pages, it would be seen that after death of Gopabandhu, SoPS had asked Lingaraj Mishra to take over the Sayabadi Press as per the Will of Gopabandhu. The Executive of SoPS had not asked Mishra to take over Samaja, because it was known to it that Gopabandhu had not bequeathed to it the Samaja as it was common a common venture of Satyabadi Panchasakha and spiritually the property of the people of Orissa. The handwritten copy of the forged Will published in the Samaja of 7.7.1986 has notes on its margin about implementation of the Will. When it is noted against Para 6 containing Gopabandhu’s desire to make over the Press to SoPS the margin note says that the Press is made over against receipt, there is no note on the para 7 that contains the forgery. So, SoPS is unambiguously conscious of the forgery Rath and Lingaraj Mishra had done through the copy of the Will they had manufactured. Yet, it had submitted the forged copy of the Will manufactured on 28.2.1954 for use in ABC membership as a document in its case against Radhanath Rath assuming that the forgery shall not be exposed by Rath as he himself was its architect.

Yet, the fact that this forged copy was not in stamp paper but in plain paper with rubber stamp of the court illegally used, was making the plentiffs fidget. SoPS was apprehensive that the Delhi High Court, while hearing the case, may insist upon production of the Certified Copy on stamped paper. So, a fresh attempt was made to generate a copy of the forged Will on a stamped paper. After obtaining an order for the certified copy, SoPS had gained over the Court typist to prepare the copy on stamp paper with court fee affixed from copy of the forged Will in their hand and get it stamped as certified true copy. But to dismayof SoPS,the certifying officer compared the typed copy with the copy of the probated Will preserved in the Book IX at serial 15 and found the foul play. The typist had to apply white paint on the text so wrongfully typed and then on that white paint, had to type the true version of the probated Will as copied to Book IX. Then the corrected copy was authenticated.

This authenticated copy could have exposed the forgery of the Will in the copy SoPS had submitted in the High Court and could also have led to punishment for the crime of forgery. Hence the certified stamped copy was abandoned by SoPS and landed in our hand during research.

High Court of Delhi could not reach the stage of examining the document filed by SoPS including the forged copy of the Will dated 28.2.1954. When SoPS was reluctant to expedite the hearing of its case lest the forgery be known, to its great relief Radhanath Rath died. On 1.5.1998 it filed a petition in the Delhi High Court seeking leave not to press the case as Rath had died and the SoPS had come to compromise with other defendants. Thus they have avoided punishment for using a forged Will and have been using the same forged Will to continue their illegal grip over the Samaja.

This question needs be looked into by the High Court of Orissa.

In course of our investigation we have also found that the Will of Gopabandhu was probated on two different dates – 20.9.1930 and 7.9.1929 in the same probate case bearing No.42/1928?

How this was possible is a question the High Court of Orissa should look into.

It is baffling that the probate order dated 7.9.1929 covers a Will that it mentions as “Amend Will”.

Pundit Gopabandhu had died after dictating his Will to Radhanath Rath, as per eye-witness accounts of Pundit Nilakantha Das. The Will probated on 20. 9. 1930 as per stamped certified true copy dated 9.1.1996 is written by Lingaraj Mishra. Yet again, the Will probated on 7.9.1929 is written by the same Lingaraj Mishra. How could the District Judge in the same 42/1928 case grant probate to the “Amend Will”, when the Will filed on 15.12.1928 was kept pending till 20.9.1930?

This question needs be looked into by the High Court of Orissa.

The point to be noted is that, if at all the Will probated on 7.9.1929, was the Will dictated by Gopabandhu in his death bed, he had not amended the will after his death. So the “Amend Will” doesn’t deserve any credence. Was it real and really probated? This question needs be looked into by the High Court of Orissa.

Both the avatars of the Will being not the same, the District Judge office of Cuttack has played the role of a breeding bed of forgery, at the behest of its beneficiaries – Radhanath Rath, Lingaraj Mishra and Servants of the People Society.

This is a serious offense against the people of Orissa.

The High Court of Orissa, being the Court of superintendence, should immediately take cognizance of this matter and institute a time-bound inquiry to find out the truth and to take action against everybody- alive or dead – if forgery is ascertained and to ensure that the people of this State are not left in the lurch to bear with judiciary’s suspected role in forgery of this type.

This is really urgent.

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