Mrunal Manmay Dash

The Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress cornered the State government on Thursday with allegations of shoddy investigation into the sensational Mahanga double murder case.

They demanded the resignation of Law Minister Pratap Jena who was not charge-sheeted in the case despite his name figuring in the FIR.

The MLAs of both BJP and Congress resorted to sloganeering and waved placards in the House, during the on-going Monsoon Session of the State legislature, demanding the Minister's resignation so that a thorough and impartial investigation can be carried out in the case as directed by the Salipur JMFC court last week.

Gunning for Jena's head, Congress workers took out a massive bike rally from Congress Bhawan and rode to gherao the official residence of Jena at Forest Park, last March.

Soon after the murders took place, the Cuttack police had registered a case against 13 people, including Jena, for their alleged involvement in the crime. The Law Minister and others had been booked under IPC Sections 302 (murder), 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of the offence committed in prosecution of common object), 120-B (punishment of criminal conspiracy), 506 (criminal intimidation) and Sections 25 and 27 of the Arms Act.

It is pertinent to mention here that following a protest petition by Ramakanta Baral, son of the deceased BJP leader Kulamani Baral who was killed along with his associate in Mahanga last year, the First Class Judicial Magistrate (JMFC) court at Salipur recently directed the Inspector-In-Charge (IIC) of Mahanga Police Station to conduct a thorough investigation into the allegations made against Jena in the sensational case.

In the order, the court stated that the complainant (Ramakanta Baral) had lodged an FIR against 13 persons on January 3, 2021, at the Mahanga PS under Arms Act. Thereafter, the charge sheet was filed against 12 accused persons except for Pratap Jena against which the protest petition has been filed by Baral.