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Trouble Rises for BJD MLA in Double-Murder Case

More trouble is brewing for BJD MLA and former Odisha minister Pratap Jena, as the Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) court in Salipur has ordered to continue with the prosecution against him in connection with the murder of a BJP leader and his associate in Mahanga in 2021.

To recall, on January 2, 2021, Kulamani Baral, the in-charge of Salepur mandal of the BJP, and his associate Dibyasingh Baral were hacked to death near Jankoti village in Mahanga tehsil.

The trial will be conducted at the special designated court for MLAs/MPs in Bhubaneswar.

The JMFC court has transferred the case to Additional District and Sessions Judge-cum-Special Court in Bhubaneswar, the designated court here.

“After going through the statements of the complainant, witnesses, and other available materials on record, we found that a prima facie case punishable for the offences under Sections 302, 506, and 120B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) is made against the accused, namely Pratap Kumar Jena.” the court order read.

“On further perusal of the case record, it is found that Pratap Jena is the MLA of Mahanga constituency. Hence, the case record be transferred to the court of the Additional District & Sessions Judge-cum-special court, Bhubaneswar, for disposal in accordance to law,” it added.

Earlier, the police had given Jena a clean chit by dropping his name from the charge sheet in the double-murder case despite the complainant mentioning his name in the FIR.

The court later directed the police to re-investigate the case and submit a call detail record (CDR) of the accused. The CDR revealed conversation between the private secretary of Umashankar Biswal and absconding accused persons before and after the murders.

The police had booked 13 persons, including Jena, in the case based on a complaint lodged by Ranjit Kumar Baral, the son of deceased Dibyasingh Baral.

Prafulla Biswal, the prime accused in the case, was also found dead under mysterious circumstances near the Tangi area of Cuttack a few days later.

As many as 10 persons have so far been arrested by the police in connection with the double-murder case.

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