Bhubaneswar: Stepping up its demand for arrest of an IPS officer, the BJP on Monday staged dharna in front of police stations across Odisha while the Congress held demonstration at Kendrapara alleging police excess during recent agitation in the district for arrest of self-styled 'godman' Sarathi Baba.
Former Kendrapada SP Satish Gajbhiye, who was shifted from the district following public ire, was accused of police excesses on people demonstrating against Sarathi. BJP district president and advocate Duryodhan Sahoo was allegedly assaulted by police during the agitation, party leaders alleged.
Sarathi alias Santosh Kumar Roul was arrested by the crime branch police on Saturday on a number of charges including cheating, police said.
Alleging a nexus among the ruling BJD, the police and the controversial 'godman', the BJP demonstrated against Gajbhiye in several places of the state seeking his arrest.
Terming crime branch probe into the Sarathi episode as an attempt by the BJD government to shield him, senior BJP leaders demanded that the matter be handed over to CBI.
Coming down heavily on the government for alleged police high-handedness, senior BJP leader Bijay Mohapatra said the IPS officer should be arrested.
On their part, Congress activists and supporters staged a demonstration and gheraoed Kendrapara district Collector?s office demanding arrest of Gajbhiye.
A memorandum was submitted seeking ex-SP's arrest as his action showed disregard for the Rule of Law, said party spokesman Ganeswar Behera.
Alleging an unholy nexus between ruling BJD leaders and the arrested self-styled godman, he said Congress sought a CBI probe into the entire episode that led to escalation of tension of Kendrapara district.
Showing solidarity with on Duryodhan Sahoo, his advocate colleagues boycotted court works in different places across the state. Both BJP and Congress extended support to the lawyers' agitation.
However, Gajbhiye defended police action during the agitation last week and said he had performed his duty properly.