Mrunal Manmay Dash

Union Education Minister and senior BJP leader, Dharmendra Pradhan, slammed Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Law Minister Pratap Jena by terming them blind and anarchist on Thursday.

Pradhan was addressing a memorial prayer meeting to observe the death anniversary of former Mahanga block Chairman Kulamani Baral at Mahanga.

The Union Minister came down heavily on the State government and questioned the police investigation and its outcome after one year of the brutal double –murder.

“The police so conveniently removed the name of Pratap Jena, the local MLA and ‘anarchist’ Minister from the charge sheet which was initially in the FIR,” said Pradhan while questioning the veracity of the probe.

“Even the prime accused in the case was found dead some days after the double murder in Jena’s own constituency. Has the government, particularly CM Patnaik, gone blind,” asked Pradhan.

“The Minister (Jena) does not appear to pay any attention to the court’s order as well. This is the state of judiciary in India we are discussing about. Is he (Jena) implying that the judiciary has been compromised? It only means that they have been exposed,” said Pradhan.

Kulamani Baral’s son, Ramakant claimed that Prafulla Biswal, the prime accused, had made a phone call to him before his death. He had lodged an FIR with the Mahanga police in this regard. “I swear by Lord Jagannath that Minister Pratap Jena has framed me in the case,” Ramakant quoted Prafulla as saying in the FIR, a copy of which was accessed by OTV.

“We were involved in three murder cases on behalf of the Minister,” Prafulla had allegedly told the slain BJP leader’s son requesting him to take care of his children before disconnecting the call.

Kulamani Baral was a senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and the former Block chairman of Mahanga. The body of Baral and his associate Dibyasingha Baral, were found near Nua Bandal Chhak in Tangi area of Cuttack on February 6, 2021. While police claimed that he died in an accident, the BJP termed it a well-planned murder. The slain leader’s son had lodged a murder case with the police by naming the accused.