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Sunday, October 2, 2022

Odisha: Elderly BJP leader Kulamani Baral murdered at behest of Law Minister Pratap Jena, says family

The brutal murder of 73-year-old BJP leader Kulamani Baral and his relative Dibya Singh Baral (80) has taken a stunning turn with the victim’s family alleging that he was murdered for exposing corruption in implementation of government schemes and that Odisha law minister Pratap Jena is behind the attack.

Shri Kulamani was returning home along with Dibyasingh in a motorcycle on Saturday night in Salepur area of Cuttack district around 7.30 PM, when they were attacked with sharp-edged weapons leading to the death of Kulamani on the spot. Dibyasingh passed away early on Sunday while undergoing treatment in a local hospital.

Kulamani Baral a popular local leader. He was in-charge of Salepur mandal of BJP and former chairman of Mahanga panchayat Samiti.

Murdered BJP leader Kulamani Baral (left), investigators at the spot where he and his relative were hacked to death (right)

The deceased Kulamani’s son Ramakant Baral has filed an FIR naming 12 persons – 8 from Nrutanga village and 4 from Jankothi village – for hacking his father and relative to death over political rivarly.

“The incident is the fallout of the exposure of massive corruption in the PMAY (Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana) in the region,” said Ramakant.

The attack was carried out at the behest of Law Minister Pratap Jena. The accused persons had also brutally murdered another BJP worker Bikash Chandra Jena in the village in 2018. The police did not take any exemplary action against them then and now they killed my father. The Minister is shielding the accused,” Ramakant has further added in the FIR.

BJP state unit has alleged that the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has started eliminating rivals similar to how the Trinamool Congress is operating in neighbouring West Bengal. BJP state general secretary Golak Mohapatra said Kulamani Baral had raised his voice against irregularities in PMAY in Mahanga assembly constituency, due to which he was killed by ruling party workers.

Law Minister Pratap Jena is 3-time MLA from Mahanga assembly constituency.

BJP has decided to hold a demonstration in all blocks of Cuttack district from Monday demanding immediate arrest of culprits, informed BJP Cuttack district unit president Prakash Behera.

Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president Niranjan Pattnaik also condemned the killing, saying, “His (Kulamani’s) death shows that political killings have begun in the state. Police need to take stringent action against the accused.”

On Sunday, Mahanga police detained one suspect in connection with the brutal double murder.

Another Odisha minister is already facing accusations of shielding the accused in the kidnapping and murder of a 5-year-old girl in Nayagarh district. The minor went missing while playing near her house on July 13. Her skeletal remains stuffed in a gunny bag were found at the backside of her house on July 23.

After initially trying to hush up the case, the state government was forced to form an SIT following  a public outcry when the girl’s parents attempted self-immolation on November 24 in front of the Assembly during its Winter Session. The parents alleged that Agriculture Minister Arun Kumar Sahoo was shielding the accused.

The SIT arrested an accused a few weeks back – he is said to be a resident of Jadupur, the girl’s native village.

Odisha government has also been cracking down on journalists, especially of the OTV news channel, for exposing govt. corruption and running stories considered damaging to CM Naveen Patanaik.

he National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) on Saturday asked the Odisha government to recommend a central agency to probe into the alleged murder of a 5-year-old girl in Odisha’s Nayagarh district in July.

The commission said the police probe into the murder case of the minor girl was severely flawed with glaring defects.

In view of the erroneous investigation conducted by the police authorities in this serious incident of murder of a minor girl, the Commission recommended that disciplinary action be taken against the investigating officers in the matter.

In a statement, it requested to recommend a thorough investigation of this incident by a central agency.

The Commission had asked the Superintendent of Police (SP) and district magistrate of Nayagarh to provide certain documents such as the age proof of the victim and a copy of the FIR.

Notably, the state government has constituted a special investigation team (SIT), which is investigating the case.

“When such serious discrepancies are present in the preliminary investigation in this case then it becomes difficult to rely on the subsequent investigation that would be undertaken by SIT as well,” the NCPCR observed.

(With IANS inputs)

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