Odisha MLA accused of harassing engineer secures bail

Bhubaneswar: Ruling BJD’s Patnagarh MLA Saroj Kumar Meher was Saturday granted conditional bail in an alleged case of harassment of a tribal junior engineer.

The bail was granted by Additional District Judge (ADJ) Court, Bhubaneswar, Arun K Mallick. The court is also designated as a special court dealing with cases involving MLAs and MPs. “The court granted conditional bail to the MLA on the surety of Rs 25,000 and two bailers with a direction to cooperate with police in the investigation process,” said Arup Chand, the advocate of junior engineer Jayakanta Sabar.

The MLA was cautioned and directed not to influence the witnesses in the case by the court, Chand said, adding that the bail was granted 12 days after his arrest on June 24. Meher is likely to be released from the special jail at Jharpada in the state capital later in the afternoon.

The MLA was arrested on charge of forcing junior engineer Jayakanta Sabar, working at Public Works Department (PWD), to do 100 sit-ups within five minutes over poor quality road construction work at Patnagarh Assembly constituency.

The matter came to light after a video went viral on social media June 6. Bolangir Collector Arindam Dakua had directed an inquiry into the incident and submitted a report on the same subsequently.

The Bolangir District Adivasi Manch had demanded Meher’s arrest while threatening to gherao the Odisha Assembly June 26 if its demand was not fulfilled.

The MLA, however, was taken into custody by police June 24. Sabar’s wife had also lodged a written compliant at Patnagarh Police Station in Bolangir district following which a case was registered against the MLA.

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