Tainted ex-Odisha minister removed

 Former Odisha law minister and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader Raghunath Mohanty, who was arrested by the human rights protection cell (HRPC) of the state police on Saturday in a dowry torture and harassment case, has been removed from his post of party vice-president.

He was one of the vice-presidents of the regional outfit and was elevated to the post during the recent organisational elections. A five time MLA from Basta constituency in Balasore district, he was the district president for a long time.

Sources within the party said on Sunday that Chief Minister and BJD President Naveen Patnaik took the decision to save the party from further embarrassment.  Patnaik was in New Delhi on an official trip when Mohanty, a close associate, was arrested along with his wife Pritilata from an apartment in neighbouring West Bengal.

Mohanty’s decision to go underground along with his family immediately after the local police registered the case on the basis of a complaint filed by his daughter-in-law had become a major embarrassment for the BJD. According to reports, the bail plea of the former minister and his wife, who are currently lodged in a prison in Balasore, will be taken up for consideration by a local court on April 2.

A fresh bail application of his son, Raja Shree Mohanty, who was arrested earlier was once again rejected by the court on Saturday.

r minister, wife and son, the HRPC is now concentrating on Mohanty’s daughter Rupashree and her husband.

The sources said, teams from HRPC would soon be visiting neighbouring states to track down the couple. “Exercise is already on to arrest them”, a crime branch official said.

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