Minister facing dowry charge still at large

The Naveen Patnaik government in Odisha continues to face heavy criticism from opposition parties for not ordering arrest of senior BJD legislator and former minister Raghunath Mohanty, facing dowry torture and harassment charges registered by his daughter-in-law.

Mohanty, untraceable since Saturday, has moved the high court for anticipatory bail. He has also petitioned the court to quash the charges describing them as false and motivated. The court heard one his petitions on Tuesday and reserved the order. Congress workers and activists on Tuesday held a demonstration in Mohanty’s Assembly constituency of Basta in Balasore district demanding his immediate arrest.

The opposition parties contend that the BJD government and the state police are intentionally not arresting the former minister. To prove their point they say Mohanty was available in Bhubaneswar and was speaking to the media throughout the day on Friday after tendering his resignation from the state cabinet.

But the police did not act.  “He should have been arrested immediately after the dowry torture case was registered,” said Jagdish Tytler, senior Congress leader and AICC observer for Odisha. The former minister’s son, Raja Shree Mohanty, who was arrested in connection with the case on Sunday, has been remanded in judicial custody after his production in a local court in Balasore.

  Mohanty’s daughter-in-law has reiterated that members of the Mohanty family, his wife Pritilata, daughter and son-in-law, whose names had figured in her police compliant should be taken into custody.

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