Police Register Case Against BJD MLA for Forcing Junior Engineer to do Sit-ups
The family members of the junior engineer have demanded immediate arrest and stringent action against the MLA.
File photo of BJD MLA Saroj Kumar Meher (News18)
Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Police Friday registered a case against BJD MLA Saroj Kumar Meher accused of forcing a PWD junior engineer to do sit-ups in public.
Meher, who drew flak after a video purportedly showing him forcing a PWD junior engineer to do sit-ups in public went viral, Thursday apologised for his action, while claiming that he did it to assuage public anger.
Later on Thursday, the engineer's wife lodged a police complaint against the newly elected Patnagarh MLA, accusing him of publicly humiliating her husband after calling him from his house on Wednesday.
Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) of Patnagarh Suresh Nayak told PTI, "We have registered a case against the MLA at Patnagarh police station after proper verification. The case has been registered under different sections of the IPC and SC, ST Atrocity Act."
Asked about the allegation of kidnapping of the junior engineer, the SDPO said, "We have traced him and handed him over to his family. He was located at a place between Kantabanji and Khariar. He had gone there with friends and was not kidnapped as alleged by the wife."
After returning home, the junior engineer claimed he was forced to do sit-ups by the MLA and an executive engineer had slapped him in presence of villagers.
"The MLA asked my executive engineer to slap me in presence of all. The executive engineer might have slapped to save me from the angry people who complained of poor quality of road construction work," the junior engineer said.
The family members of the junior engineer have demanded immediate arrest and stringent action against the MLA. As the victim belonged to a tribal community, the Bolangir District Adivasi Manch has demanded immediate arrest of the lawmaker.
The opposition BJP has also demanded immediate arrest of the legislator, while the Congress condemned his action.
In the video, the Patnagarh MLA is purportedly seen reprimanding the engineer over alleged shoddy road construction work in his constituency in Bolangir district and asking him to do 100 sit-ups in the middle of the road.
"I am sorry for the incident. But, I was compelled to ask the engineer to do sit-ups in the wake of public resentment... People were angry over the poor quality of road construction and they could have harmed the engineer if I did not ask him to do sit-ups," Meher told reporters in Bolangir.
District Collector Arindam Dakua has sought a report on the incident from the Patnagarh sub-collector, a police officer said.
The Patnagarh sub-collector was on leave for two days. The incident took place when Meher visited the Belpada block in Bolangir on Wednesday.
Locals had complained about the poor construction of the Mandal-Belpada bypass as a result of which the junior engineer was made to do sit-ups. The MLA had allegedly threatened the engineer with "mob thrashing", following which the latter did sit-ups on the road.
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