Vikash Sharma

Cuttack: The Cuttack Police (Rural) on Tuesday claimed to have cracked the brutal double murders in Mahanga by arresting four persons including the prime accused Panchanan Sethi.

Apart from Sethi, three more persons- Arabinda Khatua, Khitish Acharya and Lalita Mohan Baral have been arrested for their involvement in the brutal murder of BJP leader Kulamani Baral and his associate Dibya Singh Baral on January 2.

While addressing a press conference, Cuttack (Rural) SP B Jugal Kishore said that the police has recovered the murder weapon (a sword) and wooden logs used in the attack.

Though it was alleged that the deceased Kulamani and his associate were killed over some political rivalry, the exact motive whether the attack was orchestrated at someone’s behest is still unclear as the SP evaded such questions raised by the reporters at the presser today.

The sword was recovered after the police recreated the crime scene with the prime accused Panchanan Sethi.

However, the SP did not take any questions citing that the investigation in the case was still underway.

Meanwhile, opposition parties including the BJP and the Congress have mounted attack on the Odisha government by training their guns on Minister Pratap Jena who has been named in the FIR lodged by deceased Kulamani’s son Ramakant Baral.

Demanding immediate arrest and expulsion of the local MLA and Minister Pratap Jena, BJP Yuva Morcha activists today staged demonstrations in front of various police stations including Nayagarh, Kendrapara and Dhenkanal.

BJP National Vice-President Baijayant Panda condemned the brutal murder and said it is just the latest example of the culture of violence and political intolerance that has been created by the ruling-BJD in Odisha.

Panda demanded arrest of all the accused involved in the crime and said, "People named in the FIR as being involved in the murder be arrested and questioned, no matter that one of them is the sitting Law Minister of the State."

While addressing a press conference in Cuttack, Odisha State BJP general secretary, Prithviraj Harichandan today said that all the accused whose names have been mentioned in the FIR, including Minister Pratap Jena, should be arrested.

Apart from this, the additional SP should also be sacked for his complicity in the case, alleged Harichandan.

The activists of students and youth wing of the Congress also tried to gherao the residence of the Law Minister in Bhubaneswar. A tussle was also reported between the activists and the police.

Responding to the allegations levelled by opposition parties, BJD spokesperson Sulata Deo said, “Whatever crime happened in Mahanga was unfortunate and the guilty will be punished. The opposition is only trying to politicise the matter.”

(Edited By Pradeep Singh)