Odisha Law Minister, 12 Others Arrested for Assassination of BJP Leader and Partner
Hours after a 75-year-old BJP leader and his associate were assassinated in the Salepur area of Odisha’s Cuttack district, Odisha police searched state law minister Pratap Jena and a dozen more, as the BJP alleged that Biju Janata Dal (BJD) had initiated retributive policies like the Trinamool Congress in neighboring West Bengal. The BJP leader was assassinated along with his 80-year-old partner by six men for past feuds.
On Saturday night, 75-year-old Kulamani Baral, BJP’s Salepur mandal manager and former president of Mahanga Panchayat Samiti, was hacked to death along with his 80-year-old partner Dibyasingh Baral near Jankoti village as he was returning home. on a motorcycle. The duo received serious injuries to the face and chest. While Kulamani succumbed to his injuries on the spot, Dibyasingh died while undergoing treatment at SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack on Sunday morning.
Shortly after the murder, Cuttack police registered a case against 13 people, including state law minister Pratap Jena, for their alleged role in the double murder of BJP leader Baral and his partner and relative Dibyasingh on Saturday night. The minister of justice and others have been registered under Sections 302 (murder), 147 (riot), 148 (riot, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (any member of an illegal assembly guilty of a crime committed in the prosecution of a common object), 120-B (sanction of the criminal conspiracy), 506 (criminal intimidation), 25 and 27 of the Law of Arms.
Angered by the twins’ murders, the BJP said that the ruling BJD had begun to eliminate his rivals in cold blood, as the Trinamool Congress in Bengal was doing.
“Anyone who speaks out against Mamata is being killed in Bengal. Similarly, BJD leaders in Odisha are doing the same with their political rivals. As a high-ranking leader of the BJP, Baral raised his voice against corruption at the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana in Nrutanga gram panchayat for quite some time. After he alleged that well-to-do BJD leaders in the panchayat were taking over PMAY houses for the poor, the local administration had brought cases against the ineligible beneficiaries. Those BJD leaders held a grudge against him for a long time. Now that the justice minister has been charged in the case, he should be fired immediately, ”said Golak Mohapatra, a state spokesman for the BJP.
The Union Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan also condemned the alleged murder of Baral and his partner and urged the administration to take exemplary action against the culprits. Expressing deep distress over the incident, BJP National Vice President Baijayant Panda said that strict action should be taken against those involved in the incident after an investigation. Odisha Congress President Niranjan Patnaik said: “Kulamani was a strong leader. His death shows that political assassinations in the state have now begun. I ask the government to take strict measures against the accused. “
Kulamani’s son Ramakant, who filed an FIR against 13 people, said his father was speaking out against corruption in various government schemes like PMAY. “My father had already informed the police about the threat to his life. However, no action was taken, ”said Ramakant Baral. The husband of a local sarpanch and a former president of the Mahanga Panchayat Samiti have been appointed to the FIR.
He also alleged that several people he filed an FIR against were behind the murder of Bikash Jena, a local BJP leader in Jankoti village in December 2018. “If the police had taken action against the accused, then my father would not have been killed. These defendants are protected by the Minister of Justice and Mahanga MLA Pratap Jena, ”Ramakant said.
However, Justice Minister Pratap Jena denied the charges and said that he would see to it that those who killed the BJP leader were punished. “There is no place for violence in politics,” he said.
Rural Cuttack SP Jugal Kishore Banoth said that 6 teams have been formed to arrest the defendants.