Teacher murder: Pradhan targets Patnaik, says CM possesses arrogance of Ravana, Duryodhana


PTI, Nov 20, 2021, 8:53 AM IST

Bhubaneshwar: Attacking Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for not taking any action against state minister DS Mishra who was charged by the opposition with shielding the main accused in the woman teacher’s kidnap and murder case, senior BJP leader Dharmendra Pradhan on Friday claimed that the BJD president possesses the same arrogance as of epic characters Ravana and Duryodhana.

Pradhan, the union education minister, also accused Patnaik of adopting double standards claiming he has separate sets of moral standards for his close aides such as Minister of State for Home DS Mishra and other Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leaders.

The BJD, however, hit back asking the BJP leader to teach a lesson of morality to Union Minister of State Ajay Mishra whose son is in jail in connection with the killing of farmers in Uttar Pradesh.

“Ravana and Duryodhana had the arrogance and you (Patnaik) too possess the similar ego. It will sink your ship,” Pradhan said while addressing a programme in which former minister and BJD leader Sanjeev Sahoo joined the saffron party.

He said leaders like Lal Bahadur Shastri and Lal Krishna Advani had left their chairs in keeping with their moral stance. “In the past, Patnaik too expelled several ministers on moral grounds after allegations were leveled against them. But, the government is now maintaining a stoic silence in the Kalahandi teacher’s case in which the minister of state for home has been charged with patronizing the prime accused… It is a double standard at its best,” the Union minister said.

BJD organizing secretary Pranab Prakash Das, who is considered number 2 in the party, rejected Pradhan’s allegations in a series of tweets and suggested the Union minister not to teach moral standards to Patnaik.

“Bhai (elder brother), thanks a lot for admitting that the hon’ble chief minister takes action against influential persons. People across Odisha know that he also takes similar actions today,” Das tweeted in Odia tagging Pradhan.

Throwing a challenge to Pradhan, the BJD leader said: “If you have courage, give evidence (against the MoS, Home) to the police or high court. Leave alone resignation, the CM will send him to jail.” Referring to Pradhan’s example of Sashtri’s resignation, Das said the son of the Union Minister of State Ajay Mishra’s son is in jail in connection with the killing of farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh. “It will be better if you find time to teach the lesson of morality to the Union MOS, Home,” Das said in another Twitter post.

The BJD leader also asked Pradhan who will take moral responsibility for the death of over 700 farmers during the agitation against farm laws.

Opposition parties of Odisha allege that the minister of state for home shielded the prime accused in the murder of the teacher and that was why he was able to escape from a police barrack where he was kept in detention in connection with her ”abduction”. He was arrested two days later.

The 24-year-old teacher of a private school in the Kalahandi district went missing on October 8 and her half-burnt decomposed body was exhumed from the playground of the school on October 19. It is alleged that the prime accused had a grudge against her as she was aware of his two extra-marital affairs and had warned that she would expose him.

Pradhan also alleged that family members of the teacher were harassed and made to run from pillar to post just to file a complaint with the police, and even after the registration of an FIR, their statement was not recorded under Section 164 of CrPC.

Meanwhile, Odisha Congress in charge A Chellakumar in a press conference said his party does not agree with the BJP’s demand for a CBI probe into the teacher’s murder case.

“A CBI investigation will not bring the culprits to book as the ruling BJD and the BJP have forged a nexus in the state. Only an investigation by a high court-monitored special investigation team (SIT) would do justice to the victim’s family,” he said.

The BJP and the BJD are issuing public statements only to gain political mileage out of the issue, Chellakumar claimed.

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