Suryakant Jena

Puri: BJD MLA and former State minister Pradeep Maharathy was arrested today in connection with the alleged attack on Election Commission flying squad Magistrate Rabinarayan Patra and Static Surveillance Team(SST) members in Pipili area of the district.

Maharathy, who is BJD candidate from Pipili Assembly constituency for 2019 elections, was arrested after being interrogated in connection with the incident at Pipili Police Station.

Sources said that the ruling party legislator has been charged with serious offences including 307 (Attempt to Murder), 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 341 (wrongful restraint), 332 (Voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 147 (rioting), 148 (Rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (Every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 171-B (Bribery), 186 and Section 123 of Representation of People’s Act.

Speaking on the incident, Maharathy said that he is sad to know about attack on the EC squad at his farmhouse and clarified that neither he nor his party is involved in the attack.

“Yesterday the whole Pipili area was in dark due to power outage after storm and at around midnight, the EC special squad entered my farmhouse by breaking the gate lock. So people present at the farmhouse protested their entry following which a verbal disagreement and later a scuffle broke out between them,” Maharathy said.

However, EC flying squad Magistrate Rabinarayan Patra who was allegedly attacked by Maharathy and his supporters had clarified that after getting information about the distribution of money and liquor at the MLA's farmhouse, he along with the SST team had gone for investigation.

“As soon as we reached there, Pradeep Maharathy barged into the farmhouse and started hurling abuses and later attacked me and my team,” Patra had said.

“After getting some inputs regarding model code of conduct violation (cash and liquor), EC squad reached the spot to verify the allegations. When the flying squad and static surveillance team was busy in checking, BJD candidate Pradeep Maharathy reached the spot and obstructed the officials from carrying out their work. Later, Maharathy instigated his supporters to attack the team,” informed Puri SP Umashankar Das.

Das further informed that a case was registered at 4 AM today and Maharathy was arrested and soon, other persons involved in the attack will be arrested.

“After getting ample evidence, we arrested Pradeep Maharathy and seized a motorcycle and a car from the spot,” Das added.

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said, “Pradeep Maharathy is a goon & protector of rapists. Naveen should apologize for making him candidate in this election. However, justice has been done in connection with the attack on magistrate.”

Later in the day, Maharathy was produced before special designated court in Bhubaneswar. Maharathy was then sent to Jharpara jail while the court will hear his bail plea on April 24.

After Maharathy was sent to jail, his counsel Bidyalok Mohapatra said:

Earlier, Maharathy had reportedly fell ill inside court premises while being produced in the court. According to reports, Maharathy will undergo treatment inside Jharpara jail premises and if needed jail authorities may shift him to hospital for treatment.