Odisha BJP says DGP assured party to complete probe into Mahanga murders in 10 days

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Cuttack/Bhubaneswar, Jan 8 (PTI) The BJP on Friday said that Odisha DGP Abhaya assured it that the police will complete investigations into the recent murder of two elderly party leaders at Mahanga in Cuttack district within 10 days.

During the day, the BJP organised a dharna demanding the arrest of Law Minister Pratap Jena, an accused in the case, while the Congress sought the resignation Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who is also the home minister of the state.

As BJP activists led by state party president Samir Mohanty staged the dharna before the Director General of Police's (DGP) office in Cuttack, a delegation of the Congress headed by OPCC chief Niranjan Patnaik visited the families of the two victims.

Kulamani Baral (74) and his associate Dibyasingha Baral (82) were hacked to death by a group of assailants while they were returning to their village Nrutanga on January 2.

Kulamani Baral was instrumental in exposing corruption in government housing schemes in Mahanga Assembly segment.

'The DGP has assured us that a DIG-rank police officer will investigate the case and interrogate all 13 persons named accused in the FIR, including Law Minister Pratap Jena,' said Mohanty after a marathon four-hour-long meeting with Abhaya.

He alleged that the police appeared to be under tremendous pressure from certain quarters in independently handling the case.

'Each move of the top officers at the discussion table today was guided by text messages,' Mohanty claimed.

The DGP was not available for comment.

Thousands of BJP workers and leaders lay siege to the roads leading to the state police headquarters here demanding immediate arrest of the law minister and other BJD workers, who were named in the FIR.

The police have so far arrested seven people and recovered a sword, suspected to have been used in the crime.

After meeting the families of the two slain leaders, OPCC president Niranjan Patnaik said, 'We demand the resignation of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on moral ground as the political violence at Mahanga has its origin to rampant corruption in the area. In 2018, another political leader was also killed in the Mahanga area.' PTI COR AAM NN NN