BJD asks absconding Odisha ex-minister to surrender

The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Odisha on Tuesday asked the absconding senior party leader and former state law minister Raghunath Mohanty to surrender before the police.

“For the betterment of the party, he should surrender”, senior BJD leader and the ruling regional outfit’s chief whip in the state assembly Prabhat Tripathy told reporters here.

Mohanty, BJD vice-president, has remained untraceable for nearly a fortnight now after he resigned from the state cabinet in the wake of the dowry torture and harassment case registered against him, his son and other family members by the police in his home district of Balasore.

The case was registered on the basis of a complaint filed by Barsa Soni Choudhury, his daughter-in-law.

The senior BJD leader’s decision to abscond has become a major embarrassment for the ruling regional outfit as it has been receiving flak from the opposition parties like Congress and BJP on the issue on a daily basis.

 Both the opposition parties have already launched statewide agitations to put pressure on the government and the state police to arrest the absconding former minister.

 The opposition parties have also charged the government, particularly Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik who heads the home department of protecting Mohanty. Elaborating on the issue, the BJD chief whip Tripathy said, his senior party colleague had left with two options - either he should get an anticipatory bail from the court or surrender.

“I am sure he would be trying to get relief from the court. Otherwise, he should surrender as early as possible or the police would locate him”, he said.

 The absconding ex-minister whose son Raja Shree Mohanty has already been arrested by the Human Rights Protection Cell(HRPC) of the state police which is probing the case, had moved the high court through his lawyer with petitions to quash the charges made by his daughter-in-law and get an anticipatory bail.

 His petition to quash the charges has already been rejected by the court while his plea for anticipatory bail is yet to be heard.

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