Odisha BJP leader Kulamani Baral and his associate Dibya Singh Baral were hacked to death in Salepur area of Cuttack district on Saturday, January 2, while they were returning home on a two-wheeler. The duo received severe injuries on their face and chest.
While Baral died on the spot, Dibya Singh succumbed to his injuries while undergoing treatment at the SCB Medical College and Hospital the next morning.
The police have booked the state Law Minister Pratap Jena and 12 others, after the deceased's son Ramkant Baral filed an FIR.
In his complaint, Ramkant said that the incident is a 'fallout' of the exposure of corruption in the Prime Minister Awas Yojana (PMAY) in the state, The New Indian Express reported. Baral was raising his voice against corruption in the PMAY in Nrutanga gram panchayat for quite some time.
"The attack was carried out at the behest of Law Minister Pratap Jena. The accused persons had also murdered another BJP worker Bikash Chandra Jena in the village in 2018. The police did not take any action against them then, and now they killed my father. The Minister is shielding the accused," Ramakant's complaint read.
BJP called it a political murder. Party's national spokesperson and Lok Sabha MP from Bhubaneswar, Aparajita Sarangi, said that the incident reflects Biju Janata Dal's (BJD) 'goondaism' in Odisha.
"Our party has called for immediate arrests. The BJD elements have killed our people. This person's influence was increasing by the day," she said. Sarangi alleged the opposition party of starting retributive politics like the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in West Bengal.
BJP state spokesperson, Golak Mohapatra said that the opposition was eliminating the rivals in a 'cold-blooded' manner, which happened in West Bengal.
"Anyone who raises their voice against Mamata is being killed in Bengal. BJD leaders in Odisha are doing the same to their political rivals. Baral was raising his voice against corruption in PMAY. After he alleged that the well-to-do BJD leaders in the panchayat were appropriating the PMAY houses meant for poor people, the local administration had lodged cases against the ineligible beneficiaries. Those BJD leaders harboured a grudge against him for a long time. Now that the law minister has been accused, he should be sacked immediately," Mohapatra was quoted as saying.
All of the accused have been booked under Sections 302 (murder), 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with a deadly weapon), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of the offence committed in prosecution of common object), 120-B (punishment of criminal conspiracy), 506 (criminal intimidation), 25 and 27 of the Arms Act.