Bhubaneswar: Former Odisha law minister Raghunath Mohanty, against whom a dowry torture case was slapped by his daughter-in-law, remained incommunicado on Saturday as the demand for his arrest grew louder.
His son Rajasree Mohanty, who had married barely eight months ago, moved an anticipatory bail petition in the Orissa High Court.
The senior Mohanty, who resigned yesterday, was neither seen at the assembly nor at his residence while his mobile phone remained switched off and it was reported that he had gone into hiding last night.
The Odisha Assembly was stalled for the second consecutive day with Congress MLAs storming the well demanding Mohanty`s arrest and a debate in the House on rising atrocities on women.
Citing the police case registered against Mohanty in Balasore following a FIR lodged by his daughter-in-law Barsha Sony Choudhury, the Congress members demanded a debate through an adjournment motion on rising atrocities against women in the state.
The Congress members trooped into the well and tried to climb onto Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat`s table shouting slogans against the government.
Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh told reporters that he wanted to know why the case against Mohanty was handed over to the Human Rights Protection Cell (HRPC) of the police for investigation.
Congress Chief Whip Prasad Harichandan claimed that the government had handed over the case to HRPC to cause delay and give time to Mohanty to destroy evidence against him and his family.
BJP woman`s wing leader Surama Padhi said "They handed over the probe just to shield the Mohanty family."
Senior BJD leader and Parliamentary Affairs minister Kalpataru Das, however, claimed that the HRPC had been ordered to investigate the case to maintain transparency.
"We belive that Mohanty`s family could influence the local police. Therefore, a HRPC probe will be more accurate and neutral," Das claimed.
Opposition Congress, BJP and left outfits like AIDWA, SFI and DYFI hit the streets at the state capital, Cuttack and Balasore demanding immediate arrest of Mohanty.
BJP workers demonstrated before the collector`s office at Cuttack, while partymen burnt an effigy of Mohanty at a rally in Balasore.
Congress workers also staged demonstrations.
Mohanty`s daughter-in-law has filed an FIR against him, her mother-in-law Pritilata, her husband Rajasree and other members of the family accusing them of demanding Rs 25 lakh and a Scorpio car.