Odisha MLA Shashi Behera Dismisses Dowry Torture Charges; Other BJD Leaders Facing Similar Cases

Bhubaneswar: A day after his daughter-in-law opened up about alleged domestic violence and dowry torture, former Finance Minister of Odisha and Kendrapada MLA Shashi Bhushan Behera on Wednesday said that a false narrative is being spread.

“Two years back, my daughter-in-law’s father and brother took her home. She just lived with us for 1 month and 11 days. Such allegations after two years have pained me,” he told the media.

The BJD MLA said that they had only asked the family for a bedsheet for the ‘chaturthi’ ritual after the wedding. “A mediation process was on following the domestic violence case and this outburst was uncalled for,” Behera said while refuting the extra-marital allegations against his son.

Shashi Bhusan, who was also a Rajya Sabha member from 2010 to 2014, further said that he never promoted dowry and had even requested guests not to bring gifts. “They are adults and if compatible then they will share their life or take an amicable decision otherwise,” he added.

Exactly two years after the wedding, 31-year-old Ronali Behera lodged a complaint with Banki police on March 3, stating that she was physically and mentally tortured by her husband and in-laws for dowry.

“After 10-12 days, my husband and his family members, including his MLA father, started torturing me for a dowry. When the mental and physical torture became unbearable, I informed my father on July 30, 2021. The next day, he came and took me home for own my safety,” she said.

Ronali alleged that her husband had an affair with a married woman and been demanding Rs 40 lakh from her father. After filing the FIR, her family had requested police not to take instant action expecting the matter to resolve amicably. She, however, was compelled to open up about the issue before the media as her husband’s family kept dragging the matter, her family said.

Based on her complaint, Banki police has registered a case against the MLA, son Satya Prakash and wife Suprava Mohanty under sections 498 (A), 294, 506, 34 of IPC read with section 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act 1961.

This allegation came on a day when Balangir Royal Family found itself embroiled in a controversy after wife of Arkesh Singh Deo, son of senior BJD leader Ananga Udaya Singh Deo, accused her in-laws of domestic violence and assault. Adrija Manjari, has filed a complaint with the Uttarakhand director general of police (DGP) in this regard while claiming that her in-laws were forcing her to get a mutual divorce. The granddaughter of former prime minister VP Singh’s further alleged that her husband had hired supari killers to eliminate her.

Arkesh is a well-known model. He had unsuccessfully contested the Balangir assembly seat in 2019.

Also Read: Odisha’s ‘Royal’ Mess Gets Murkier: Arkesh Singh Deo Responds To Wife Adrija’s Allegations

The BJD is yet to react to these issues. However, a few more leaders of the party have face similar embarrassment in the past.

In August 2021, Bhopal police registered a case against BJD MP (Cuttack) Bhartruhari Mahtab, his wife Mahasweta and son Lokranjan after his daughter-in-law Sakshi alleged harassment for dowry.

BJD MP from Kendrapada Anubhav Mohanty was reportedly sidelined in the party after his wife Varsha Priyadarshini accused him of domestic violence in 2020 while the former sought divorce from her. The marital discord has been grabbing headlines and spilling bad blood for quite some time.

In 2013, former law minister Raghunath Mohanty was arrested and imprisoned in connection with a domestic violence case filed by his daughter-in-law Barsa Swony Choudhury. Three years later, Barsa and Rajashree Mohanty moved a local court to withdraw the divorce case and announced their reunion after high drama.


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