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Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: The site in-charge of Sarua studio in Khordha, Anirudhha Panda, who was forcibly picked up by police in the middle of the night before he was put on arrest, has been granted bail by the Additional District Judge Court (2) on Tuesday.

Panda was woken up from his sleep at around 3.30 am on Tuesday by a posse of policemen who barged into the Sarua studio campus and broke open the door of the room in which Panda was sleeping.

A fellow staff at the studio said that a team of around 15 to 20 police personnel scaled the boundary walls of the studio and whisked away Panda like a habitual offender before dragging him out.

It was another instance of police excess against Odisha Television Limited (OTV) and its employees as four employees of the state's leading news channel have been arrested so far by the police in 20 cases that were made out against the media house.

The police excess is widely believed to be a diabolic conspiracy to muzzle the freedom of press at the behest of a repressive regime in the State.

It is worth mentioning that despite a clean chit given by a Tehsil-appointed government 'amin' that there was no encroachment of land at the Sarua studio in Khordha district, the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Odisha Crime Branch on November 1 arrested Manoranjan Sarangi, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of OTV.

Adding to the instances of targeted harassment, the Baghamari police had arrested an engineer and a supervisor working at the campus of the studio who had approached the police with a complaint after they were attacked by a group of contract workers without provocation on October 31.

Meanwhile, father of OTV MD Jagi Mangat Panda, Randhir Singh on Tuesday sought intervention of Union Home Minister Amit Shah against the protracted police excess against his family and employees at the channel’s studio in the guise of investigation into a land issue.

“We are being held hostages for the last 10 days. There are women, children, workers and our food supplies won’t last long. I have never seen police behaving like goondas,” said Singh adding that his family along with villagers has been working together to build and create thousands of jobs in the area, but the 'government has made this place a hell'.

Later in the day, Khordha SP Ajay Pratap Swain said, "After a case was registered on October 2, we had called him and he cooperated with us. However, he didn't turn up after another case was filed against him on October 5. So, after getting information about his presence yesterday, we arrested him. We will take action as per the law."

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