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Pradeep Singh

Union Minister of State for Jal Shakti and Tribal Affairs, Bishweswar Tudu, seems to have once again courted controversy. This time, the Minister has been accused of beating up two officials of the District Planning Board in Odisha's Baripada (district headquarters of Mayurbhanj district).

Tudu allegedly thrashed the District Planning Board Deputy Director Ashwini Mallik and Assistant Director Debashis Mohapatra after calling them to his party office for a review meeting in Baripada.

Both the officials, who have allegedly suffered injuries, have been admitted to the Baripada Medical College and Hospital. While Mallik has reportedly sustained minor injuries, one of the hands of Mohapatra has been fractured in the incident.

Meanwhile, a case has been registered in the name of the Union Minister at Baripada Town Police Station under Sections 323, 325, 294 and 506 of IPC based on the allegations of attack leveled against him by the two officials.

On the other hand, the Union Minister, who is a Lok Sabha member from Mayurbhanj district, has refuted the allegations of manhandling incident. Citing the accusations are purely false and baseless, Tudu claimed that it is an attempt to malign his image ahead of the Panchayat Elections in the State. 

"The officers had come for a review but I turned them back saying that I was busy," clarified Tudu.

Debashis Mohapatra, one of the injured officials said, "The Minister first scolded us stating that we violated protocols. We tried to convince him that it would have been improper if we visited his office along with files at a time when the Model Code of Conduct is in place in the State. But, he got angry and started hitting us."

This is not the first time that such allegations of impropriety have been made against the Union Minister. Earlier, Odisha Administrative Service officers in Mayurbhanj district had accused Tudu of making disrespectful remarks about them.

The officers had then even worn black badges and organised silent protests on their office premises at Baripada urging Tudu to behave in a decent manner with government officials.

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