Opposition comes down on Patnaik over dowry case
Bhubaneswar, March 16 : Opposition parties Saturday increased pressure on Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik by staging demonstrations to demand the immediate arrest of former minister Raghunath Mohanty for torturing his daughter-in-law for dowry.
While the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members raised pandemonium in the state assembly and forced several adjournments, its activists staged demonstrations in different places outside the house.
In Balasore town, Congress workers burnt effigies of Mohanty, who resigned from the ministry a day ago over the issue.
In state capital Bhubaneswar, and adjoining Cuttack city, the leaders of both the parties demanded that the former minister and his family should be arrested immediately.
"It is unfortunate that a senior leader of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has come under the scanner of law for being a law breaker. This case is symptomatic of a deeper malaise that afflicts the ruling party - an utter disrespect for women," state Congress president Niranjan Patnaik told reporters.
"I request the government to take immediate steps to arrest the culprits and try them through a special fast-track court," he said.
"Why are Mohanty and his family not being arrested by the police? Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is deliberately trying to bail out the culprits," senior BJP leader Ashok Sahu said.
Raghunath Mohanty, five-time legislator from Basta assembly constituency in Balasore district, had to resign from the state cabinet Friday, a day after his daughter-in-law Barsa Swony Choudhury lodged a written complaint with the police that the minister and his family had been demanding dowry of Rs.25 lakh and a multi-utility vehicle.
In her complaint, Choudhury alleged that the minister and his family tortured her physically and mentally, ever since she married the minister's son, Raja Shree Mohanty, June 2012.
She claimed that her parents had given Rs.10 lakh at the time of the marriage, as was demanded, but her father-in-law and the rest of the family were unhappy and insisted that her parents should pay Rs.25 lakh and a multi-utility vehicle.
Police have registered a case against Mohanty and four others of his family under the anti-dowry act.
Mohanty however, refuted the allegations.