Pradeep Pattanayak

The state unit of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday demanded Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to immediately sack his minister Samir Ranjan Dash from the cabinet and pave the way for an unbiased investigation into the death case of Nimapara Zilla Parishad member Dharmendra Sahu.

The saffron party leaders staged a dharana at the statue of Utkal Gourav Madhusudan Das in front of Raj Bhawan. The leaders underlined it that the investigation would be unbiased only when the minister is expelled from the cabinet. 

“The accused person in the case is a minister. As long as he has not been expelled from the cabinet, the investigating institutions can’t mutter enough courage to investigate properly. Our demand is that the Chief Minister to keep his clean image intact should sack the minister from the cabinet and pave the way for an unbiased investigation,” said senior BJP leader Sajjan Sharma. 

At the same time, the state unit of Congress too staged a demonstration at Nimapara in Puri district. Party leaders and workers burnt the effigy of Minister Dash and demanded the minister’s expulsion from the cabinet. 

“The Minister should resign and face impartial investigation.  We would intensify our agitation till he has not resigned from his post,” said senior Congress leader and former minister Rabi Sethi.  

Neither the said minister nor the government came up with any statements on the Oppositions’ stand. 

Meanwhile, the police on Wednesday interrogated Bindas Chinu. Deceased Dharmendra had taken her name in the viral phone call. While replying to the queries from journalists about her involvement in the case, she said the minister is her uncle and  she made Dharmendra’s acquaintance through the minister. “I was taking care of the minister  and the deceased’s social media accounts. I had relationship with Dharmendra’s family. I am cooperating with the police in investigation  and told them what they wanted to know from me,” said Chinu.

Notably, the Zilla Parishad (ZP) member belonging to the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) was found hanging in his residence in Sishupalgarh area on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar on September 24. 

Later, BJP leader Prabhati Parida brought the telephonic conversation between the deceased leader and a journalist to the fore at a press conference. 

In the purported audio, Dharmendra can be heard saying that he was ending his life because of Minister Samir Ranjan Dash.