Former Odisha law minister, wife sent to judicial custody

Bhubaneswar, March 30 (IANS) Former Odisha law minister Raghunath Mohanty and his wife Pritilata were Saturday remanded to judicial custody, hours after they were arrested for allegedly torturing their daughter-in-law for dowry, their lawyer said.

The couple was presented before the court of the sub-divisional judicial magistrate at the district headquarters town of Balasore, about 220 km form here, who remanded them to judicial custody till April 2, lawyer Gouri Kumar Barik told IANS.

The court concluded its hearing on the bail plea moved by the couple and fixed the date of April 2 to announce its verdict on the matter, he said.

Mohanty and his wife were arrested from Kolkata nearly a fortnight after their 28-year-old son Raja Shree Mohanty was arrested March 17, in the same case.

According to Additional Director General of Police B.K. Sharma, the Mohanty couple had rented an apartment in Kolkata and remained in hiding there.

“They were arrested around 3.30 a.m. today (Saturday)” Sharma said.

Raghunath Mohanty, 64, a five-time legislator from the Basta constituency in Balasore district, had remained incommunicado ever since he resigned from the state cabinet on March 15, a day after his daughter-in-law accused him of torturing her for dowry.

Mohanty was holding the portfolios of urban development, law and information technology.

In her complaint at the Balasore police station March 14, the victim Barsa Swony Choudhury, who holds a Bachelor of Technology (B-Tech) degree, alleged that she was tortured by her husband Raja Shree, both physically and mentally, ever since she married to him in June 2012.

She alleged that her father-in-law Raghunath, mother-in-law Pritilata, sister-in-law Rupashree and other family members were also involved in the crime.

She claimed that her parents had given Rs.10 lakh at the time of the marriage, as was demanded, but her husband and in-laws were unhappy, insisting that her parents should pay Rs.25 lakh and also offer them a multi-utility vehicle.

After a public outcry and protests by opposition parties, police arrested Raja Shree Mohanty March 17. He was remanded to 14 days of judicial custody after his bail plea was rejected a day later.

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