Court dismisses former Odisha law minister's plea

Court dismisses former Odisha law minister's plea

The Odisha High Court has dismissed the petition of former Odisha law minister Raghunath Mohanty seeking quashing of the first information report (FIR) registered against him and his family, alleging torture of his daughter-in-law for dowry.

Justice Raghubir Das, single-bench judge of the high court at Cuttack, about 26 km from here, completed hearing the petition Tuesday, but had reserved the order.

The judge pronounced his verdict Wednesday, a defence lawyer told IANS.
Mohanty had also applied for interim protection for his family and himself against possible police action. The court refused to grant any interim protection, the lawyer  added.

Mohanty, five-time legislator from Basta constituency in Balasore district, has remained incommunicado ever since he resigned from the state cabinet March 15, a day after his daughter-in-law accused him of torturing her for dowry.

Mohanty was holding the portfolios of urban development, law, and information technology.

In her complaint at the police station in the district headquarters town of Balasore, about 220 km from here, the victim Barsa Swony Choudhury, who holds a Bachelor of Technology (B-Tech) degree, March 14 alleged that she was tortured by her husband Raja Shree, both physically and mentally, ever since she married him June 2012.

She also alleged that her father-in-law Raghunath, mother-in-law Pritilata, sister-in-law Rupashree and other family member were also involved in the crime.

She claimed that her parents had given Rs.10 lakh at the time of the marriage, as was demanded, but her husband and family-in-law were unhappy and insisted that her parents pay Rs.25 lakh and also offer a multi-utility vehicle.

After a public outcry and protests by angry opposition parties, police Sunday arrested Raja Shree Mohanty, 28, and remanded him to 14-day judicial custody a day later, after his anticipatory bail plea was rejected.

His lawyer Gouri Kumar Barik said a fresh petition was filed in the district and session court and the hearing is expected Thursday.

The Odisha High Court has not yet taken up for hearing the anticipatory bail plea of Mohanty and his family members, the lawyer said.