The Opposition Congress on Friday stalled the proceedings of the Assembly demanding the arrest of Raghunath Mohanty, who resigned from the ministry after his daughter-in-law filed a case against him and his family members alleging dowry torture.
As soon as the House assembled for the day, the Congress members were on their feet demanding a statement by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on the matter involving an FIR registered against Mohanty following allegation of dowry torture levelled by his daughter-in-law. With uproarious scenes persisting, Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat adjourned the House at 10.37 am till 11.30 am. When the House reassembled, the Chief Minister, in a statement, informed the members that the case against Mohanty has been handed over to the Human Rights Protection Cell (HRPC) for investigation.
Naveen said Mohanty tendered his resignation on moral grounds consequent upon registration of the FIR at Balasore to ensure free and fair investigation.
However, the Congress legislators were up in arms after Chief Minister’s statement with party MLA Santosh Singh Saluja asking the Government to clearly spell out the steps being taken. Saluja said Mohanty should be arrested if the charges against him are found correct. In case the allegations are false, appropriate action must be initiated against the complainant, he said.
Describing the developments as unfortunate, BJD MLA and former minister Pradip Maharathy said there was no need to discuss the sensitive issue in the House in detail. As Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh and Congress chief whip Prasad Harichandan were not given an opportunity to speak on the matter, Congress members trooped into the well shouting slogans and demanding Mohanty’s arrest.
The Congress members also wanted to know as to why the case was handed over to the HRPC. Amid the din, the House was first adjourned till 12.45 pm and then up to 3 pm due to uproarious scenes. Noisy scenes continued in the House during the afternoon session also with the Congress members continuing the slogan shouting in the well. The demand for grants of the Panchayatiraj department was passed in the House amid noisy scenes only in 20 minutes.