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Odisha law minister quits after dowry, torture charge

March 15, 2013 11:04 IST

Odisha's Law and Urban Development Minister Raghunath Mohanty resigned on Friday on "moral grounds" after his daughter-in-law filed a dowry case against him and his family members.

The minister rushed to Naveen Nivas, residence of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, and tendered his resignation in the wake of registration of a case at Balasore Town police station against him and his family members.

"I have submitted my resignation to the chief minister on moral grounds," Mohanty told reporters outside Naveen Nivas, while refuting the charges levelled by Barsha Sony Mohanty, his daughter-in-law.

Barsha had lodged an FIR against the minister, his wife Pritilata, his son Rajasree and other members of family on Thursday night.

"Allegation against me and my family is totally false and baseless. The people of Balasore know the truth. Let the law take its own course," said Mohanty, five-time MLA from Basta constituency in Balasore district.

Mohanty, MLA for fifth consecutive term, had been a minister since 2000 and held important portfolios including parliamentary affairs, industries and IT.

On the basis of the complaint lodged by Barsha, a case has been registered against the minister and others under section 498 (A), 506, 448 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code, police said.

In her FIR, the woman said she married Rajasree on June 24, 2012. During marriage, her parents had given Rs 10 lakh and other household articles.

Barsha alleged that she was subjected to physical and mental torture for dowry. "They further demanded a Scorpio vehicle and Rs 25 lakh cash," she said in her FIR,

Barsha said she was shocked by the attitude of her mother-in-law and brought the matter to the notice of her husband and the father-in-law. However, both her husband and father-in-law suggested that Barsha bring more dowry, as demanded by the mother-in-law, she alleged.

Barsha, who has now been staying at her parent’s house due to alleged torture, claimed that there was an attempt to kidnap and kill her on March 13. However, Barsha said she survived as other members of her family reached the place while some unknown people were about to abduct her.

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