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Devbrat Patnaik

Bhubaneswar: Delhi-based journalist Abhijit Iyer-Mitra seems to be in more troubled waters after Konark Police took him on a four-day remand. Soon, the Saheed Nagar Police also sought from Twitter postings in his account besides his phone and mail ID details.

Sources claimed the Saheed Nagar Police has asked Twitter to provide details of Abhijit Iyer Mitra's account, his phone number and mail ID to know what all he had posted and when.

Soon after the House Committee hearing on Tuesday, Abhijit was arrested by the Saheed Nagar Police for his derogatory remarks on Odisha and the Konark Sun Temple and produced before the Bhubaneswar SDJM court.

The Court then granted permission to Konark Police to take Mitra on a four-day remand for further interrogation.

After rejection of Iyer’s bail petition, his advocate Nikhil Mehra said that he will appeal in the Sessions Court. “These cases are about outraging feeling. You don’t feel a sense of outrage one year after something is said,” Verma stated.

Meanwhile, State BJP vice president Samir Mohanty stated that the process of police probe and its behaviour with the journalist is disappointing. He said, "Anyone who criticises the heritage and rich culture of Odisha should be punished. But the manner in which Odisha Police is carrying out action is disappointing. The House Committee had asked Iyer Mitra to appear in connection with the privilege motion moved against him at the Assembly, which is why Mitra deposed before the panel yesterday. Complaints were lodged against him almost a month ago. What was the police doing all this while without arresting him? They decided to arrest him only after he came to Odisha."

"Moreover, Mitra's 'objectionable' tweets are a year old when Baijayant Babu was in BJD. Nobody raised the issue then. Now when he is not in the party, taking such action against Mitra seems nothing but a political vendetta," Mohanty added.

It may be mentioned here that the Saheed Nagar Police had registered a case against Iyer following a complaint by one Manoranjan on September 20 for hurting the sentiments of Odisha people through a video on Sun Temple.

Based on the complaint, a team of Commissionerate Police interrogated Iyer here at an undisclosed location for several hours before arresting him. Senior officials of Arakhakuda Police Station, where another case has been lodged against the scribe, were also present to question Iyer, sources said.

Later, he was sent to a 14-day judicial custody after his bail plea was rejected by SJDM in-charge.

Earlier on Tuesday, the House Committee of Odisha Assembly chaired by Narasingha Mishra sought an affidavit from Iyer and asked him to submit the same on November 2.

During the first phase of the House Committee hearing, Abhijit Iyer apologised and his statement was also recorded by the panel.

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