Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Whoever commits forgery, with the intention to use the forged document for the purpose of cheating, “shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine”, mandates Section 468 of Indian Penal Code. In view of this, former member (administration) and Associate Editor of the Samaja Ms. Manorama Mohapatra is bound to be imprisoned with fine.
Her father, Radhanath Rath, who, as editor of the Samaja, had hoodwinked the entire nation to fetch the third highest civilian award – Padmabhusan, had tampered with Gopabandhu’s draft Will that he had taken dictation of, and subsequently had co-manufactured a forged avatar thereof to grab the Samaja. Now it is seen, Manorama has forged the signature of a Sub-Editor of the same paper to cheat him out of his salary dues. Victim of her forgery is Pitambar Mishra on whose debacle the details have been placed in the preceding posting.
Mishra was exploited by Manorama’s father Radhanath Rath for around a decade since 1986. On grabbing the Samaja, Rath had become its de facto owner by transforming the same to a family domain in the guise of Servants of the People Society. If any first hand evidence is required, one may get it from notes of the newspaper’s legendary news-editor – also publisher for many years – the Gandhian in letter and spirit, late lamented Udaynath Sarangi published in his serial write-up, captioned Lauha Paradara Antarale (Behind the Iron Curtain). An excerpt from the first episode, boxed by its publisher ‘Sambad’ is inserted here for all Oriyas to peruse. Roughly translated into English, it reads, “Pt. Gopabandhu has gifted away his institute to the race (of Oriyas). It has acquired the present stature with the help and cooperation of the people of the land. Neither there is investment of a single pie in it from the property of any individual nor has any individual any share in it. Its stature is the result of collective endeavor. It is a national institute. Let the Samaja and the institute (its establishment and Satyabadi Press) be salvaged from the family grip (of Radhanath Rath) and restored as a national property, so that, that would be the most appropriate respect for and preservation of memories of Gopabandhu”.
After exploiting the Samaja as his private property since the death of his collaborator in the forgery of Gopabandhu’s Will under cover of the Servants of the People Society, Rath had most cunningly made his daughter Manorama a member thereof handing her over the reign of the paper. She was made the boss both in administrative and editorial sectors. She was member (Administration) and Associate Editor. The press was being managed and the paper was being edited under her control. She was representing the management in its real sense.
A living symbol of her father’s exploitation, Sub-Editor-cum-News Reporter Pitambar Mishra had raised a dispute before the Labor Laws Implementation Authorities seeking regularization of his services with due amount of wages to which he was entitled under the Wage Board Award for Working Journalists. Rath had recruited him as a News Reporter for Rs. 150/- only per month. After giving him an additional duty to work as a Sub-Editor too, he was paid Rs.250/- per month. No letter of appointment was given to him as per practice of Rath, though he was acting without rest from early morning to late in the night as a journalist in both the areas – as a Sub-Editor as well as a News Reporter. He was one of many such hands in the establishment of the Samaja in the regime of Rath, who was using maximum space of the paper to project himself as a kind and benevolent person! Towards the end of his life, members of SoPS dared to make their presence felt in management of funds of the paper and the iron curtain epitomized by Rath started to crack.
In that confusing situation, SoPS having started to disregard various steps of Rath, Pitambar apprehended that, unless he raises the necessary industrial dispute, his decade old service to the paper may get lost in the labyrinth of managerial chaos.
So, he moved the District Labor Officer to step in. The DLO issued a statutory notice to the management asking why it should not be enforced by Law to regularize the services of Pitambar Mishra.
The management got the notice on 6.9.1997 and the next day on 7.9.1997, the journalist was not allowed to enter into the Samaja premises. The GM orally informed him that his services were no further required.
The DLO entertained conversion of his dispute from a case for regularization of service to a case for reinstatement in service.
Dispute Referred to Labor Court
Consequently, the State Government in the Labor and Emplyment Department referred the matter to the Labor Court, Bhubaneswar for adjudication under Sub-Section (5) of Section 12 read with Clause (ci) of Sub-Section (1) of Section 10 of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 vide order No. 15552/LE, dt. 31.12.1998. The term of reference was:
“Whether the termination of services of Sri Pitambar Mishra, Sub-Editor/News reporter by the management of “the Samaj” with effect from 7.9.97 is legal and or justified? If not, to what relief Sri Mishra is entitled?
The Court answered, “the termination of services of Sri Pitambar Mishra, Sub-Editor/News Reporter by the management of “The Samaj” with effect from 7.9.97 is neither legal nor justified”. He was entitled to the relief of reinstatement with back wages”, the Labor Court concluded.
The reference was bound to be answered like this, as the management clearly knew that they have acted absolutely illegal and unjustified in summarily terminating Sri Mishra’s services immediately after receiving the notice of his complaint and no Court would ever approve their action.
The only way for them to escape was denial of employer-employee relationship with Mishra. For this purpose, they devised a fake agreement with a forged signature of Mishra depicting therein that the relationship between him and the Samaj “is that of Principal to Principal and not that of employer or employee”. And, challenged the maintainability of the reference on this ground.
The so-called agreement was shown to have been signed on the 8th day of June 1995 to stay alive for two years. It means, the said agreement was bound to expire on 7th day of June, 1997. If it was so, how was it that the workman was working, as admitted by the management, till 7th of September 1997? Management’s averments make it clear that, when he was orally informed on 7.9.1997 that his services were not required onwards, the General Manager had not known of the agreement. The said agreement was also not the management’s proof of non-existence of employer-employee relationship when the dispute was under conciliation. Interestingly, when the so-called agreement was dated 8.6.1995, letter No.52/GM/94 dated 28.4.1994 reveals that the workman had already executed that agreement ! How can an office order issued on 28.4.94 speak of a document created on 8.6.95 ? This impossibility became possible only because, none of these two documents is genuine. Both of them were manufactured to harass Journalist Pitambar Mishra. Both of them were backdated and in backdating them by different persons, the dates depicted in both of them had inadvertently been so different.
I am giving below photo copies of relevant portions of these two documents for a comparison.
The comparison makes it clear that there is a gap of 14 months between the office order and the agreement. If the the agreement was executed on 8.6.95, how could the office order be pregnant with the same agreement that is dated 28.4.94 ?
How could the order based on the agreement be issued 14 months before the signing of the agreement ?
Manufactured by Manorama
Obviously, none of them was in existence on the relevant days.
They were manufactured by Manorama Mohapatra after the case was registered as Industrial Dispute No.9 of 1999 and proceeded in the Labor Court to the disadvantage of the management. And under the impact of the consequential shenanigans, attempts were made to create the said two backdated documents by two authorities of the management, such as the order dated 28.4.94 by one R.C.Mishra and the agreement dated 8.6.95 by Manorama Mohapatra. Due to lack of coordination in the flow of mala fide intension to teach a lesson to the workman who dared to drag them to the labor Court, the dates of the documents manufactured at their respective cabins became so drastically different.
When the document created by R.C.Mishra on the letterhead of the Samaja on 28.4.94 was meant to deny the workman confirmation in the post of Sub-Editor, the agreement manufactured by Manorama Mohapatra on 8.6.95 was, besides being an instance of use of Indian Stamp Papers for illegal purpose, carried forged signature of the affected workman.
Gene of forgery
Manorama Mohapatra, daughter of Radhanath Rath, who, as shown earlier in these pages, had created a forged avatar of Gopabandhu’s Will to occupy the Samaj, had become a member of SoPS by way of nepotism and had become Member in charge of administration as well as the de facto Editor of the Samaja under the designation of Associate Editor. She was formerly a class-I officer in College Branch of Orissa Education Service, a Chief Executive of Orissa’s Academy of Letters. Yet, just to cause a poor and low paid employee debarred from getting his due position and wages, she created, sans any qualms, as if she inherits the gene of forgery, the signature of Pitambar Mishra on the said manufactured agreement typed on Indian Stamp Paper.
From the picture posted above, it is clear that the first attempt having failed, the forgery was done on the second attempt.
But very apt is a verse of ancient Oriya wisdom that says, “Papa Karuthibu Andhara Ghare, Bihi Lekhuthiba Tala Patare” , meaning, even if a sin is perpetrated inside a dark room, God Almighty records it in tamperproof letters like the Oriya people write on palm leafs. Precisely it says, “sin cannot be kept hidden”.
And, science also agrees. Howsoever cleaver be the criminal, he or she leaves behind clues that expose the crime along with its perpetrator, say the criminologists.
The crime of Manorama Mohapatra that she committed by forging the signature of Journalist Pitambar Mishra has been exposed by science.
Let us look again at the above picture.
It is the end portion of the manufactured agreement with the forged signature of Pitambar Mishra. It shows, the first attempt to forge his signature having failed, that has been repeatedly struck-through and then, below that struck-through signature, the signature of Pitambar Mishra has been penned. We shall later see how this signature is forged. But, at the moment, we shall peruse the photo copy of the authentication part of the agreement in question.
When Pitambar Mishra is shown to have signed for and on behalf of the News Representative constituting the second part of the agreement, Manorama Mohapatra has signed for and on behalf of the Samaj constituting the first part thereof.
Manorama’s then known blue-eyed-boy Brajakishore Das, sub-editor, Samaj, Cuttack has signed as witness No.2 and a designation-less ineligible signature is attributed to witness No.1.
Who took the dictation of the agreement, from whom, where and when; and who typed the agreement was a must to have been written on the body of the agreement typed as it is on Indian Stamp Paper. But this is conspicuous by its absence. So, it is clear that, it is Ms. Manorama Mohapatra who has prepared the agreement on the Stamp Paper and forged Pitambar Mishra’s signature thereon to derail the Industrial Dispute 9/1999 in the Labor Court in order to debar Sri Mishra from getting his position and wages. The two witnesses taken into the scanner, it is a collective crime.
Proof of Forgery
Now let us see, how the signature claimed by Manorama to be of Pitambar Mishra on the body of the manufactured agreement is a forged signature.
When the State Government referred Mishra’s dispute to Labor Court, Bhubaneswar for adjudication, the management of Samaj questioned the maintainability of the dispute by denying employer-employee relationship between them and Mishra. And, in support of their contention, they produced the agreement in question that at Para 8 in page 3 says, “The relationship between the news representative (Pitambar Mishra) and the Samaj is that of Principal to Principal and not that of an employer or employee”.
Pitambar was shocked. He vehemently protested against production of an agreement, which he never had made and signed.
The labor Court did a mistake.
Instead of asking the management to prove that Mishra’s signature was genuine, it asked the poor, unpaid and jobless workman to prove that his signature was forged !
And, he was asked to deposit a heavy sum of money towards cost of handwriting examination, which was beyond the capability of Mishra to deposit.
So his case was dismissed and the reference was answered in favor of the management.
When the Orissa High Court went through the records, it quashed the order of the Labor Court, directing it to resume the case while not intervening with the Labor Court direction to the workman on cost of his signature examination in the State Handwriting Bureau. Mishra with much difficulty could be able to deposit the cost and the Labor Court sent his disputed signature along with 7 sets of specimen signatures of Pitambar Mishra obtained on seven sheets of paper by him in presence of and witnessed by the Advocate for the management. Mishra’s signature on his application to Chairman, Lok Sevak Mandal (management) dated 12.11.92 as well as his signature on his application to the same authority on 4.5.94, which were admitted by the management to be genuine signatures of Mishra received by them, were also sent as admitted signatures of the workman to the State Handwriting Bureau in Crime Investigation Department (CID), Crime Branch (CB) of Orissa Police, Rasulgarh, Bhubaneswar, vide letter No.1615/LC dt. 25.9.2010. The specimen signatures taken on 7 sheets were marked S-1, S-2, S-3, S-4, S-5, S-6 and S-7, where as the signature on his application dated 12.11.92 was marked S-8 and the one on his application dated 4.5.94 was marked S-9. The disputed signature on agreement dated 8.6.95 was marked X-1. The ‘Government Examiner of Questioned Documents’ in the HWB was asked to examine and tell “whether the person who wrote S-1 to S-9, also wrote the signature marked X-1”.
On careful and thorough examination of “the documents in original from all angles of handwriting identification with the help of scientific aids under suitable condition”, the Examiner reported that, “Both the sets of signatures (Specimen and admitted signatures marked S-1 to S-9 and the disputed signature Marked X-1) differ in their general writing habit such as skill, speed, movement, line quality, size and proportion of letters etc” and declared that “The disputed signature marked X-1 contain hesitation, pen stop at unnatural places, slow drawn movement, poor line quality etc, which are the symptoms of forgery found present in the disputed signature”. Here below is the photo copy of the conclusive observation of the Examiner of Questioned Documents.
Opinion of the Handwriting Bureau Authority that establishes that Pitambar Mishra’s signature was forged on the body of the agreement dated 8.6.1995, which was manufactured by Ms. Manorama Mohapatra for and on behalf of the management, is also given below:
Raising fictitious grounds to delay the proceedings in the Labor Court, the management had filed a petition there, praying for sending another signature for examination. That was rightly rejected, in view of the fact that the disputed signature was proved as forged signature on scientific examination by the State Handwriting Bureau and the examiner, as C.W.1, had already been cross examined by the management wherein nothing was made out to show any defect in the examination of the signature and the report of HWB.
The management had then wanted to recall the Handwriting expert for fresh cross examination. But the management withdrew the same petition pleading pendency of a case it had preferred in the High Court on the same subject. The said case of the management failed in the the High Court, with the Judge concluding that, in rejecting the petition of the Samaj for sending the signature again to the Handwriting Expert the labor Court had neither committed any irregularity nor illegality.
Thus, it is established that, the Samaj management has forged the signature of Pitambar Mishra on the body of a manufactured agreement in order to deny him his legitimate position and wages by derailing the judicial process.
Criminal Negligence by Police
Sri Mishra filed FIR in the Cantonment Police Station on 20.7.2011 seeking action against the forgery. As he was not furnished with a copy thereof, he resubmitted the FIR to Deputy Commissioner of Police, Cuttack, by Speed post on 25.7.2011. Tracking records shows that the same was delivered to the DCP on 26.7.2011.
But the Police is yet to come out of its cocoon of criminal negligence. If not, law shall force it to act.
Then what would happen to Manorama Mahapatra? Unless Pitambar Mishra, her victim, shows her mercy, she cannot avoid imprisonment in view of the provision of IPC quoted at the beginning. So also the two fellows who have authenticated the forged signature as genuine by signing as witnesses. And, another fellow, under whose instigation the forgery is understood to have been committed and who had, as the lone management witness, deposed under oath that the questioned signature was the genuine signature of Pitambar Mishra, will also be prosecuted and jailed, because the signature he had shown as genuine signature of Pitambar Mishra, has been proved to be forged on the basis of scientific examination in the Handwriting Bureau. That fellow is Chaudhury Sangram Keshari Mishra, whom the Samaj management has, for his litigant mischief and anti-labor habit, rewarded with unending pay packages from the funds that the workmen so laboriously generate for the newspaper. Under wrong and mischivious advice of such fellows, the iconic newspaper of Orissa, co-founded by the immortal humanitarian leader Utkalmani Pandit Gopabandhu Das, has become a scheming exploiter of workers and has generated scores of Industrial disputes, where it has never won, but always failed.