Arrested Odisha activist’s son says he was framed


Bhubaneswar : The son of a human rights activist, who was arrested last week in Odisha’s Gajapati district for allegedly supplying arms to Maoists, has accused the police of framing him after he raised his voice against a ruling party legislator.

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Pleading his innocence, 32-year-old Sangram Mohanty, who is currently lodged in judicial custody after being denied bail, has sent a letter to the chief justice of Odisha High Court, top state authorities, media houses and journalists, seeking justice.

“I am innocent. I am neither involved in any criminal activities nor I am a member of any Maoist organization,” Mohanty wrote in his letter of Dec 8, a copy of which is with IANS.

Mohanty said he has been framed for filing a case against the ruling Biju Janata Dal lawmaker Purna Chandra Swain for illegally encroaching public lands.

Mohanty holds a bachelor’s degree in technology (B-Tech) and has worked in J.K. Paper Mill in Kolkata for two years, and in Reliance Telecom as a territory manager here.

He said he was arrested at a time when he was pursuing Masters in law as well as doing developmental work as a civil contractor.

Mohanty alleged that he was forcibly taken away by a group of policemen while returning home.

He also expressed surprise at the way the police charged him with carrying arms and explosives and handing them over to a Maoist courier.

“I am innocent. I request you to kindly help me,” Mohanty, who has been on a hunger strike since a day after his arrest, said in the letter.

Police said Mohanty was arrested while he was supplying arms and other items to a Maoist courier in Mohana area in Gajapati district Dec 5. The alleged courier was also arrested. Two pistols, 95 bullets and dry fruits were among the items seized from them, Superintendent of Police C.S. Meena told IANS.

Mohanty’s father Dandapani had negotiated with the Maoists and helped the state government resolve the abduction of a foreign tourist earlier this year.

“The police have cooked up a story. There were no arms or ammunitions with my son,” Dandapani said.

“This is a conspiracy to suppress me as I have always raised my voice against the atrocities and fake encounters (staged shootouts) by police,” he added.