Dilip Kumar

Cuttack: A special team of Cuttack rural Police on Monday arrested one more accused in connection with the brutal murder of BJP leader Kulamani Baral and his aide Dibyasingh Baral in Mahanga, taking the total number arrestees to eight.

The accused has been identified as Bhikari Swain, a local BJD leader and former block chairman of Mahanga in Cuttack district. Swain was among others who were named in the FIR lodged by the deceased leader's son. Swain was also one of the accused in the killing of one Bikash Jena in 2012.

Police on Thursday had arrested prime accused Panchanan Sethi's brother Chaitanya and another accused named Umesh Khatua.

While Chaitanya was arrested from Nuapatna area in Cuttack, Umesh was apprehended from Rajgangpur.

It is worth mentioning that Kulamani was returning home along with his associate Dibyasingh on his bike when some miscreants attacked them with sharp-edged weapons near Jankoti in Mahanga of Cuttack. Kulamani was declared brought dead at Mahnaga Community Health Centre while Dibyasing succumbed to injuries while undergoing treatment at SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack.

Family members of Kulamani had alleged that he was killed at the behest of Law Minister Pratap Jena for exposing massive scam under Prime Minister Awas Yojan in Mahanga block. The son of the deceased leader had also lodged a complaint with police naming Law Minister Pratap Jena and 12 others.

The incident triggered a massive political furore in the State with BJP and Congress hitting streets demanding expulsion of Law Minister for allegedly creating political violence.

BJP’s Odisha in-charge D Purandeswari, who had recently met the bereaved families, had come down heavily on ruling BJD over the brutal murder of party leaders.