Ensure justice in Mahanga double murder case, arrest law minister: Odisha BJP chief to CM

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Bhubaneswar, Jan 7 (PTI) BJP Odisha in-charge D Purandeswari on Thursday urged Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to ensure justice for families of party leader Kulamani Baral and his associate Divyasingha Balara, who were hacked to death by a group of miscreants recently.

Purandeswari made this appeal to Patnaik, who is also the home minister, after visiting the homes of the two victims and meeting their kin.

She sought the arrest of Law Minister Pratap Jena, one of the accused in the case.

Baral (74), the BJP in-charge of Salipur, and his 82- year-old associate were returning home on January 2, when motorcycle-borne miscreants attacked and killed them.

Jena is one among the 13 named as accused in the case, while the police have so far arrested six persons.

'I urge Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to come out of his residence, open his eyes and ears in order to see and hear what is happening in this state,' Purandeswari said, while addressing a press conference after her visit to the victims' families at Nrutang village in Mahanga, Cuttack.

Ridiculing the BJD government's 'zero tolerance to corruption' policy, Purandeswari said that earlier in 2018, one local BJP leader Bikas Jena was killed for pointing out irregularities in the implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY).

'And now, Kulamani Baral and Divyasingha Baral were killed for raising voice against corruption in the implementation of PMAY,' she said.

Raising questions over the investigation being carried out in the double-murder case, Purandeswari said, 'Why is that the law minister has not been arrested yet? Why has he been spared even after his name appeared in the FIR? Family members of the two victims have alleged that he had a major role to play in the twin murders.' Ruling BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra, however, rejected Purandeswari's allegation, and said the prime accused and his aides were arrested within 48 hours of the incident.

'She (Purandeswari) is probably unaware that the BJD has always taken the strictest-possible action against the culprits, and because of that people of Odisha have blessed the party for five successive terms. In the Mahanga case, too, the victims will get justice,' Patra said.

Former Odisha DGP Prakash Mishra, who had unsuccessfully contested from Cuttack parliamentary seat in 2019, however, alleged that the investigation into the case was not being conducted in a proper manner.

He also alleged that the local police officers were working at the behest of 'someone' in the area. PTI AAM RMS RMS