Mrunal Manmay Dash

Notwithstanding the claims that Odisha Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) Supremo, Naveen Patnaik is always vocal about curbing corruption and punishing party leaders allegedly involved in crimes, a lot of BJD leaders found themselves in legal battles in the past few years. Serious allegations like murder, sexual harassment, domestic violence and dowry torture do not seem to leave their trail either.

Here’s a sneak peek into the allegations against the BJD leaders, some of whom have already served as ministers of Odisha:

BJD leader and MLA Pratap Jena

BJD leader and Mahanga MLA, Pratap Jena found himself in a serious soup after allegations of murder were levelled against him. BJP leader Kulamani Baral, who was the block chairman of Mahanga, and his associate Dibyasingha Baral were brutally killed on January 2, 2021.

Deceased Kulamani’s son Ramakant Baral had filed a case alleging the involvement of the then minister Pratap Jena in the murder of Kulamani and his associate.

Former Minister Captain Divya Shankar Mishra

The sensational murder case of Mamita Meher saw allegations being levelled against BJD leader and the then MoS Home, Dibya Shankar Mishra. Mishra’s name cropped up after the prime accused in the case, Gobinda Sahu was arrested and it was alleged that Sahu acted as Mishra’s go-to man in Kalahandi. Several people, including Mamita’s family members had alleged that Sahu was running a sex racket in his college where Mamita Meher was a teacher.

It was alleged that Captain Mishra not only visited the college and spent nights on the campus frequently, but also took his ministerial colleagues along for college functions. The BJP had then demanded dismissal of Mishra for his alleged links with the prime accused in the murder case.

Former BJD leader and MLA, Anup Sai

Ex-MLA and former BJD Leader Anup Sai was awarded life imprisonment in connection with the sensational double murder of a woman and her daughter in 2016, by a Chhattisgarh court. Both Sai and his driver were arrested by the Chhattisgarh police in February 2020 on the charges of murdering one Kalpana and her minor daughter Bubli near Hamirpur forest in Chhattisgarh’s Raigarh district in 2016. He was booked under section 302, 201, 120(B) and 34 of the IPC. Sai is currently out on bail after serving imprisonment.

Former Minister Arun Sahoo

Five-year-old Pari had gone missing while playing in front of her house at Jadupur village in Nayagarh district on July 14, 2020. Later, on July 23, her decomposed body was found packed in a sack behind the house near a pond. Alleging police inaction in the case, the parents of Pari accused Nayagarh MLA and the then minister Arun Kumar Sahoo of shielding accused Babuli Nayak. They claimed that Nayak was a close aide of the Nayagarh MLA.

Former Minister Raghunath Mohanty

Basta MLA and former Law Minister Raghunath Mohanty was forced to resign from the Odisha Cabinet in 2013 after his daughter-in-law, Barsha Sony Mohanty brought dowry torture allegations against him and his son Rajashree Mohanty. FIRs were registered against the duo following a complaint by Barsha Sony. After allegedly 15 days on the run, Raghunath Mohanty was arrested along with his wife Pritilata by the Human Rights Protection Cell (HRPC) team from Shalimar area of Kolkata. He had to spend three nights in jail. Later, he was released on bail on April 2.

MLA Braja Kishore Pradhan

Ruling BJD MLA Braja Kishore Pradhan from Talcher was accused of harassing a woman in 2017, who claimed to have married the lawmaker at a temple in 2015. The woman lodged a written complaint against Pradhan at the Mahila Police Station in Bhubaneswar where she alleged that Pradhan refused to accept her as his wife. Pradhan, however, rejected the allegation.

Former Labour Minister Srikant Sahu

MLA Srikant Sahu, who recently resigned from the position of Labour Minister, was embroiled in sexual abuse allegation levelled against him by a woman activist of BJD, Sanjukta Mahal on April 14, 2023. After lodging complaint against Sahu, Mahal had informed the media that ‘she has filed a complaint against Srikanta Sahu and she has faith in Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to give her justice’. However, she later refused to comment anything on her allegations, sparking rumours that she might have been pressurised to keep mum.

Tirtol MLA Bijay Shankar Das

Tirtol MLA Bijay Shankar Das’ rumoured girlfriend Somalika Das had accused the lawmaker of rape and cheating. She had alleged that her case was registered after 9 months and only after the intervention of Orissa High Court. Somalika, who claims to be a friend of the MLA, had moved the Orissa HC after Jagatsinghpur Police did not register a case against Bijay Shankar on the basis of a complaint lodged by her on May 13, 2022. She had also accused the IIC of Jagatsinghpur and the district superintendent of police of inaction.

Former Rajya Sabha MP, Ananga Uday Singhdeo

Former Rajya Sabha MP AU Singhdeo, who is from the erstwhile royal family of Bolangir, was recently accused by his daughter-in-law of dowry torture and domestic violence. Singhdeo's daughter-in-law Adrija Manjari Singh lodged a complaint with Dehradun police alleging domestic violence and dowry torture against her husband Arkesh Narayan Singh Deo and her in-laws.

Arkesh is a well-known model. He had unsuccessfully contested the Bolangir Assembly seat in 2019 on BJD ticket. Adrija is the granddaughter of former Prime Minister VP Singh.

Kendrapara MLA Shashi Bhusan Behera

Senior BJD leader and Kendrapara MLA, Shashi Bhusan Behera's daughter-in-law Ronali (31) also lodged a complaint against the lawmaker and his family members at Banki police station in Cuttack district accusing them of torturing her mentally and physically for a dowry of Rs 40 lakh.

Ronali married to Mr Behera's son Satyaprakash in March 2021. However, Behera refuted all the allegations against his family members.