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Ex-Odisha minister released from jail in dowry case

April 02, 2013 17:56 IST

Former Odisha law minister Raghunath Mohanty and his wife Pritilata, accused of torture by their daughter-in-law for dowry, were released on Tuesday after spending three days in jail following bail granted to them by a local court.

Mohanty and his wife, who were in judicial custody in Balasore jail since March 30, were freed after Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate Ranjan Kumar Sutar granted them bail after furnishing security of Rs 10,000 each and surety.

There was tight security near the court and jail as a large number of people, including supporters of Mohanty, had gathered at both places.

Soon after the court granted bail to Mohanty and his wife, their daughter-in-law Barsa Swony Choudhury told reporters that she apprehended threat to her life as the former minister was a powerful person.

Barsa had filed an FIR at the Balasore Town Police station on March 14 accusing the former minister and four family members of physically and mentally torturing her for dowry.

Barsa, who had married the BJD leader's son Raja Shree in June last year had alleged that his family demanded Rs 25 lakh and a luxury vehicle as dowry. She had also accused her husband of having extra-marital relations.

On March 15, Mohanty, MLA from Basta constituency for the fifth consecutive term and a minister since 2005, had resigned from the Naveen Patnaik ministry and gone into hiding with his wife.

They had been arrested by the Human Rights Protection Cell of the Odisha police on March 30 from Howrah district in neighbouring West Bengal.

A case had been registered against Mohanty, his wife, son, daughter Rupashree and son-in-law Subhendu Madhual under section 498(A) (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty), 506 (criminal intimidation), 448 (trespass) and 34 (common intention) of IPC and section 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act.

Raja Shree was arrested from near Cuttack on March 17 and is in jail. The former minister's daughter and son-in-law were yet to be traced.

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