Vikash Sharma

Trouble mounted for senior BJD leader and MLA, Pratap Jena in the Mahanga double murder case as Salepur JMFC court on Monday ordered to continue the case against him.

In its order, the Court said “After going through the statements of the complainant, witnesses, and other available materials on record, we found that a prima facie case punishable for the offenses under section 302, 506, 120 B of the Indian Penal Code is made against the accused namely Pratap Kumar Jena.”

"On further perusal of the case record, it is found that Pratap Kumar Jena is MLA of Mahanga constituency. Hence, the case record be transferred to the court of the Additional District & Sessions Judge-cum-special court, Bhubaneswar for disposal in accordance to law," the order read.

BJP leader Kulamani Baral, who was the former block chairman of Mahanga, and his associate Dibyasingha Baral were brutally killed on January 2, 2021. Later, the prime accused in the case, Prafulla Biswal, was found dead under mysterious circumstances near Govindpur area in Tangi of Cuttack district.

Prabin Kanungo, the advocate of the complainant said, “On September 15 the court ordered that the case under IPC sections stands after going through various documents, police record, CDR, and other statements including that of the complainant and witnesses. The Court has also transferred the case to Bhubaneswar court.”

Kanungo further informed that as per the legal procedure, a notice will be served to the accused to appear before the court.

Ranjit Baral, son of deceased Kulamani said, “After a long wait, we are happy over the court’s order against MLA Pratap Kumar Jena in the case.”

Congress leader Debendra Sahoo said, “The Mahanga double murder case is a sensitive case and we had staged demonstrations seeking immediate arrest of the accused. Police had registered an FIR and the names of 13 persons were there including Pratap Jena. However, the name of Pratap Jena was removed by police in its charge sheet.”

According to Sahoo, the son of the deceased later filed a protest petition and the court ordered for a fresh investigation.

Meanwhile, MLA Pratap Kumar Jena could not be contacted for his comments on the development.

The complainant's advocate Praveen Kanungo said "From the CDR, Police found lots of evidence of MLA Pratap Jena's links with the accused. It has been found that Pratap Jena's private secretary had spoken to the accused."

Later in the day, Pratap Jena refuted the allegations while speaking to the media. "Allegations are baseless & politically motivated. It is a conspiracy by my political opponent. I challenge those who have brought allegations to undergo Narco test along with me," said Jena.

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