Odisha cops probe 'bribing' of journalists

The local police in Odisha’s Puri town on Thursday launched an investigation into the alleged attempt to bribe journalists at a press conference of senior Biju Janata Dal (BJD) parliamentarian Pinaki Mishra.

Two complaints were filed in the sea beach police station in the coastal town by a section of local journalists as well as Sachetana Nagarika Manch, a local organisation.

Police on Thursday morning questioned the staff of a star hotel in the town, where the press conference was organised on Wednesday, as well as officials of the Puri branch of a nationalised bank that sponsored the meet. “The investigation is on. Action will definitely be taken if we found evidence of a criminal offence during our probe,” a Puri-based senior police officer said.

There was tension at Wednesday’s conference as journalists protested after finding envelopes with Rs 200 in their press kits. Mishra had called the press meet in his capacity as the chairman of a parliamentary standing committee that visited Puri.

The three-time MP from Puri immediately expressed his regret and assured action against the officials responsible for the “most unfortunate incident”. Mishra also appealed to the people not to give political colour to the incident.

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