Depression gripped Raja Shree Mohanty, only son of former Odisha minister for Law, Housing & Urban Development and Information Technology Raghunath Mohanty after he landed in Balasore district jail at about 11.25 am on Monday.
After all jail formalities, he was taken to ward no. 4 where already 25 others were already lodged. He was given the treatment of a normal under trial prisoner (UTP).
A native of Shyamsundarpur under Basta police limits, Raja Shree (28) was produced before Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate (SDJM) of Balasore Ranjan Kumar Sutar. He was arrested by the Human Rights Protection Cell (HRPC) near Chouduar in Cuttack on Sunday. He was remanded in judicial custody for 14 days after his bail application was rejected
Arrested on the charges of dowry torture, house trespass and criminal intimidation, it was not a normal day for the former minister’s son. With fear writing large on his face, he was seen sitting quietly inside the four walls of the prison.
A jail official said he didn’t talk to his fellow UTPs and sat quietly. When he was asked if he was facing any problem, he broke down and stood bowing down his head. Even he refused to talk to any one over phone and there was no call for him from outside.
Though surprising not a single person came to meet Raja Shree in jail. He had to survive on the usual jail food. He was given rice, moong dal and Indian broad beans fry in lunch and rooti and mix vegetable curry in dinner.
“It was really astonishing that none came to meet him in jail. We have seen people making a bee line to meet people in public life when they are in judicial custody. In this case it was something very surprising as because he is son a powerful former minister and he himself was a ticket aspirant for the forthcoming election,” wondered a jail staff.
Meanwhile, his cell in the jail campus has been kept under proper observation. His movements were being properly monitored and activities kept in close watch. “Though no extra security arrangements have been made for him, but the jail warders will guard his ward round the clock as he appears very depressed. He has been advised to intimate the jail staffs and the superintendent if he faces any kind of harassment or problem by the fellow inmates,” said the official.
While Raja Shree was cooling his feet inside the jail, scores of scribes had to camp before the SDJM court during day hour and then the judge’s quarters till late in the evening after the rumour of about the possible surrender of the minister and his family members spread in the locality.
The HRPC officials were also seen waiting for them. The scribes left the place after HRPC DSP Subal Kar confirmed that the information was a rumour to hoodwink them.
Sources said Raja Shree’s anticipatory bail application was earlier rejected by the High Court on Saturday. His counsel Gouri Barik said after the rejection of bail petition by the SDJM, a fresh bail application had been filed in the court of district sessions judge. “The bail petition will be heard on March 21,” he informed.
Raja Shree was arrested in the wake of a dowry torture case filed against him by his wife Barsa Swony Choudhury (23) of Bhoisahi here. Apart from Raja Shree, a case under sections 498 (a), 448, 506 and 34 of the IPC has also been registered against Raghunath, his wife Pritilata, daughter Rupashree and son-in-law Suvendu Madhual.
After the case was registered, Raghunath had to resign from council of ministers on March 15. He has refuted the allegations as false and fabricated. The HRPC team led by DSP Kar is investigating the case.
Barsa’s lawyer Amar Nanda said prima facie evidences indicated that she was tortured both physically and mentally for dowry. Barsa, a BTech in Information Technology, has also accused Raja Shree, who works as an engineer in a private Steel plant in Jamshedpur, of having extra-marital affairs, which he has denied.
Appreciating the efforts of police for registering the case immediately and HRPC for arresting Raja Shree, she has demanded arrest of the minister, his wife, daughter and son-in-law. “I want to see all of them behind the bars. They have spoiled my life,” she said.
As the arrest of the minister was demanded from various quarters, he remained incommunicado since the day of his resignation. He was neither seen at the Assembly since nor at his residence, while his mobile phone remained switched off. His other family members, accused in the case, are also absconding. Meanwhile, the minister and his three other family members have filed for anticipatory bails in the High Court.