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Suryakant Jena

Police on Tuesday arrested two persons on charges of forcibly collecting Durga Puja chanda (donation), from a businessman in Cuttack.

A team of Malgodown Police arrested the two members of the College Square Puja Committee named Sarat Kumar Behera and Rakesh Kumar Behera for forcing a businessman to pay Rs 13000 as donation for the forthcoming Durga Puja.

As per reports, one of the accused, a 'dahi bara' seller while the other one, a snacks vendor, threatened the businessman when he expressed his helplessness towards paying the chanda.

Cuttack Zone-I ACP Amarendra Panda informed reporters that the action has been taken based on the allegations lodged by the businessman against the College Square Puja Committee. Both of them have been forwarded to court.

Panda further warned that if police finds the involvement of other people in the case, they too will be put behind the bars.

"Police is maintaining tight vigil to ensure that no one can collect donation from anyone for puja purposes in Cuttack. We will ensure zero tolerance & strict action against any kind of forceful collection & extortion in the name of Puja," said Panda.

The ACP also urged the public to inform the police in case anyone comes across such incidents. Cuttack DCP has assured that the identity of the informant(s) will be kept confidential and stringent action will be taken against the accused.

Meanwhile, the College Square Puja Committee has refuted the allegations of forcible chanda collection from people in Cuttack.

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