Phulbani (Orissa): A sitting BJP MLA Manoj
Kumar Pradhan was on Tuesday sentenced to seven years imprisonment
and sent to jail by a fast track court for his role in a case
of murder during communal riots in Orissa`s Kandhamal district
36-year-old Pradhan was taken to a jail here within hours
of fast track court-I judge S K Das convicting him and
pronouncing the quantum of punishment for him and another
convict, Prafulla Mallick and ordering them to pay a fine of
Rs 6000 each. Mallick was also awarded seven years jail term.
"The court found Pradhan guilty under section 326
(voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or
means), 147 (rioting) and 149 (unlawful assembly) of IPC,"
said Pradhan`s lawyer Ramesh Mohanty.
Pradhan was accused of being involved in the killing of a
Christian Parikhita Digal from Budedi village on August 27,
2008 and the police had registered a case against Pradhan
under different sections of the IPC including 302 (murder).
But, the court found the MLA guilty under section 326,
147 and 149 of IPC, the lawyer said.
Pradhan`s other lawyer Ajit Kumar Patnaik said the MLA`s
name did not figure in the original FIR filed by the victim`s
wife Kanaka Rekha Naik at Raikia police station. "His name was
added during hearing of the case."
Pradhan, who represents the communally sensitive G
Udayagiri assembly constituency, said he will appeal against
the verdict in the Orissa High Court.
"I have the highest regard for the judiciary. We will
appeal against the verdict in the higher court," he told agency
on phone before being sent to jail.
Pradhan, earlier acquitted in seven cases relating to the
Kandhamal riots, is still being tried in seven other cases
including three relating to murder.
He contested from inside the jail, where he was lodged
after being arrested from Berhampur in December 2008. He was
granted bail in December 2009 and has since been attending
Pradhan was a close disciple of VHP leader Swami
Laxamananda Saraswati, whose killing on August 23, 2008,
had sparked off large-scale violence in Kandhamal and other
parts of Orissa.
38 people were killed and hundreds of houses burnt down
in the violence that raged for about two months.