Brief Relief For BJD MLA Pratap Jena As Orissa HC Stays Coercive Action In Mahanga Double Murder Case

Cuttack: In a relief for Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MLA Pratap Jena, the Orissa High Court on Thursday stayed any coercive action against him in the sensational Mahanga double murder case.

The High Court sought the record relating to the case from the Court of Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC), Salipur, while fixing the date for the next hearing on December 19.

It may be noted here that Jena, a former Odisha Minister, had skipped appearance in the Salipur JMFC Court on October 31 citing health grounds. Through his counsel, the BJD leader had submitted a petition in the court stating that the doctors had advised him the rest for one month.

The JMFC, Salipur had taken cognisance of offenses against Jena as an accused in the Mahanga double murder case in its September 25 order. After going through the statements of the complainant, witnesses, and other available materials on record, the court ordered a prima facie case punishable for the offences under sections 302, 506, 120 B of the Indian Penal Code to be made against Jena.

The former Law Minister was asked by the court to depose before it on October 31, 2023. A summon in this regard was served by the court to the MLA through a special messenger.

However, Jena skipped the hearing on October 31 and presented his stand in JMFC court through his lawyer. He further urged the court to exempt him from personal appearance as per section 205 of IPC citing illness.

The BJD legislator also filed a petition in the High Court the same day challenging the cognisance order by the JMFC court urging the court to quash it. He urged the High Court to put an immediate stay on the proceedings by the JMFC court.

On January 2, 2021, BJP leader Kulamani Baral, 75, who was the block chairman of Mahanga, and his associate Dibyasingh Baral, 80, were hacked to death by unidentified miscreants near Jankoti village in Odisha’s Mahanga tehsil while returning home by a motorbike.

The prime accused in the case, Prafulla Biswal, was also found dead under mysterious circumstances near Govindpur in Tangi of the district later.

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