BHUBANESWAR: The demand for a CBI probe into the Pipili gang-rape case has grown shriller with the youth and the student wings of the State Congress and various other organisations staging demonstrations on Tuesday. The demand for resignation of Agriculture Minister Pradip Maharathi for allegedly sheltering the accused has also grown louder.
The State units of the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) took out a rally from the Congress Bhawan to the PMG Square. The demonstrators raised slogans against the Agriculture Minister and burnt his effigy.
Likewise, activists of the Youth Congress staged a demonstration before the office of the ADM and demanded his ouster from the ministry. The Youth Congress workers even collected donations from the public for the treatment of the victim and alleged that the Government is reluctant to bear the medical expenses of the victim undergoing treatment at the SCB Medical, Cuttack. The activists later submitted a memorandum to Governor MC Bhandare demanding the immediate resignation of Maharathi. State youth unit president Sangram Keshari Jena and State NSUI president Chinmoy Kumar Sahu demanded arrest of patrons of the culprits.
MAHARATHI DENIES CHARGE: However, Maharathi denied charges against him. “I have no link with the accused though the incident took place in my Assembly segment of Pipili,” the Minister said refuting the allegations of harbouring the criminals at his farmhouse.
Terming the allegations against him as ‘false’ and ‘baseless’, the Agriculture Minister said he had come to know about the alleged rape incident only from the media. “As I came to know about the incident from media, how can I provide them (criminals) shelter,” he said.