Son of Odisha ex-minister held

Raja Shree Mohanty taken into custody in connection with dowry case
Last Updated 17 March 2013, 19:44 IST

The crime branch of the Odisha police on Sunday arrested Raja Shree Mohanty, son of former state law minister and senior leader of the ruling Biju Janata Dal(BJD) Raghunath Mohanty, in connection with a dowry torture and harassment case.

 The police filed case against his other family members, including his politician father and mother Pritilata.

The police in Balalsore district registered the criminal cases on last Friday on the basis of a complaint lodged by Raja’s wife and former minister’s daughter-in-law, Barasa Soni Choudhury, a B Tech graduate. The senior BJD legislator resigned from the state cabinet on the same day. “We arrested Raja Shree Mohanty on Sunday morning at a place near Cuttack. He is being interrogated and he will be produced in a Balasore court soon,”  crime branch additional director general of police(ADG) B K Sharma said.

Raja had moved to the high court for an anticipatory bail describing the allegations made by his wife against him and his family as baseless and motivated. However, he has been taken into custody before the court heard his petition.

Sharma said the ex-minister’s son was arrested on the basis of prima facie evidence against him in connection with the case. “During preliminary investigation we found prima facie evidence against him and therefore he has been taken into custody.

A detailed investigation into the case is on,” the senior police official who is also heading the state police’s human rights protection cell(HRPC) said. The Naveen Patnaik government has handed over the sensitive case to the HRPC for a “free and fair” investigation.

Raja’s arrest, however, has not been able to satisfy the women’s wing of different opposition political parties who are gunning for Raghunath Mohanty’s head.
Their point of view is when the police do not hesitate to arrest a common citizen on similar charges then why a ruling party politician will be treated differently.

 In fact, the Mahila cell of the BJP’s state unit has threatened to launch a statewide agitation on Monday if the BJD heavyweight from north Odisha is not arrested immediately. The senior Mohanty is a five-time MLA from the Basta assembly seat in Balasore district and a founder member of the ruling regional outfit.

The women’s wing of the state unit of the Congress, the principal opposition party in Odisha, held rally in capital Bhubaneswar on Sunday on the issue. The students’ wings of different left parties also organised similar demonstrations in the city on Sunday.

(Published 17 March 2013, 05:15 IST)

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