CM orders crime branch probe to collector-lawyer row

Sambalpur: The state government today ordered probe into the alleged manhandling of the lady collector of Sambalpur district Mrinalini Darswal and the ransack of her office by lawyers. "The Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has ordered a probe by the Crime Branch of Odisha Police," an official release said.

Stating that the government has sought a report from the district administration and police chief, Home Secretary B K Patnaik said "appropriate steps will be taken." The local bar association gave a bandh call in the district headquarters town tomorrow demanding the collector`s dismissal, president of the Sambalpur Bar Association Pramod Rath said.

Rath alleged that the collector misbehaved with lawyers on a bus when they were going to the corporate office of the Western Electricity Company at Burla to protest unscheduled power cuts on Monday. "The allegations made by her are false. "We condemn the behavior of such a high official of the district." The high court bar association has extended support to the bandh, he claimed.

Government employees from across the district took out a rally from the official residence of the collector and submitted the minutes of the meeting, which was organised by them yesterday, to the revenue divisional commissioner (northern division) and the inspector general of police, northern range. Condemning the manhandling of the collector and the district sub registrar, the employees demanded immediate police action against the lawyers.