BARIPADA: Mayurbhanj Police on Friday arrested local BJP MLA Prakash Soren for allegedly manhandling an engineer of the Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) the evening before during a review meeting.
According to the complaint, assistant executive engineer Ganapati Jena was called to a meeting by Soren at the Circuit House on Thursday evening.
However, the engineer alleged that he was beaten up by the BJP legislator. Jena, who reportedly suffered injuries, was immediately admitted to Baripada district headquarters hospital.
Basing on the complaint of the officer, a case was registered under Section 294, 341, 323, 324, 506 and 34 of IPC against the MLA and his three colleagues who were present at the meeting, Baripada Sub Divisional Police Officer KK Hariprasad said. They were later produced in Baripada SDJM Court on Friday evening. Soren was granted bail by the court.
Tension ran high on Grand Road in front of Baripada town police station as hundreds of BJP activists demonstrated against the police and BJD Government and blocked the road paralysing vehicular movement from 11 am to 7.30 pm on the day following arrest of the lawmaker. The party demanded immediate release of Soren on the grounds that officer filed a false case against the MLA to tarnish his image.
Soren refuted the charges of assault and said he had called the officer to discuss pending issues of MLA LAD Fund implementation. “I have respect for officers and common people but the officer filed a case against me influenced by some persons,” he said.
Sources said Soren had asked Jena to come to Circuit House around 7.30 pm for the meeting where he along with his three colleagues discussed about development activities of the MLA’s constituency. During the meeting, Jena was asked about contracts awarded under the LAD funds as well as pending bills being not processed, hampering the works.