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Devbrat Patnaik

Cuttack: Bhikari Swain - one of the accused arrested in connection with the Mahanga double murder case - has claimed that he has been falsely implicated by the family members of slain BJP leader Kulamani Baral.

Swain was being taken for a medical examination on Tuesday when he alleged that Kulamani's son Ramakant Baral and other family members have intentionally framed him over political rivalry. Asked about his involvement in the brutal murder, Swain said 'no chance (chance nahi)'.

"I have been falsely implicated in this case. The allegations made by Ramakant Baral and his family members are untrue. It is because of the political rivalry that they framed me. We were rivals since 1997."

Recently, Ramakant alleged that his father had been raising voice against irregularities and corruption, especially in the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) in the region, and it was during the tenure of Bhikari Swain that the deceased BJP leader had exposed massive scam in housing scheme, sources said.

Bhikari Swain, a local BJD leader and former block chairman of Mahanga in Cuttack district, is among 13 persons including State law minister Pratap Jena named in the FIR lodged in connection with the murder of senior BJP leader Kulamani Baral and his associate Dibyasingha Baral. Worthwhile to mention, Swain was also accused in the killing of one Bikash Jena in 2012.

'Mahanga Has A History Of Political Violence'

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan today visited Nrutanga village in Mahanga to meet the family members of the late senior BJP leader Kulamani Baral and his aide Dibyasingha. "Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed concerns over the killings when I apprised him. I have also told Home Minister Amit Shah about this gruesome incident. Mahanga has a history of political violence. Before the double murder, two more murders had occurred here. The recent murders were a fallout of exposure of corruption in PMAY," said Pradhan after attending the Ekadasah (11th-day ritual) of the deceased.

READ | Mahanga Double Murder: BJD Or Odisha People – Who Is State Police Working For? Asks BJP

A few days ago, former Mahanga block chairman Kulamani was returning home with Dibyasingha on his bike when some miscreants attacked them with sharp-edged weapons near Jankoti in Mahanga of Cuttack. Kulamani was declared brought dead at Mahanga CHC while Dibyasingha succumbed to injuries during treatment at SCB Hospital in Cuttack. While BJP went all guns blazing at the State government and Police, Odisha DGP Abhay has assured completion of the investigation very soon.

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