Kandhamal riots: Convict BJP MLA granted bail

Orissa High Court today granted bail to BJP MLA Manoj Pradhan who was convicted in a Kandhamal communal riots case.

Last Updated: Jul 07, 2010, 22:46 PM IST

Bhubaneswar: Orissa High Court today granted
bail to BJP MLA Manoj Pradhan who was convicted in a Kandhamal
communal riots case.

Pradhan, convicted by a fast track court at Phulbani
on June 29 and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for seven
years for his role in the killing of a Christian man during
communal riots in Kandhamal in 2008, got conditional bail from
the High Court.

The single judge bench of Justice B P Das, while granting
bail to Pradhan, said the MLA would refrain from influencing
witnesses in other cases pending against him.

At least six more cases, including three involving murder
charges, are pending against Pradhan who had been acquitted in
seven other cases.

Pradhan, however, could not be released from jail today
as he had to make a fresh bail petition in the lower court in
Phulbani as per direction of the High Court, the BJP MLA`s
lawyer Sarbeswar Behera said.

The BJP`s MLA from communally sensitive G Udaygiri
assembly segment was sent to jail after the fast track
court judge S K Das had pronounced the punishment for him and
another person for their role in the killing of Parikhita
Naik, a Christian from Budedi village near Tiangia under
Raikia police station limit on August 27, 2008.

The fast track court had found Pradhan guilty under
section 326 (Voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous
weapons or means), 147 (rioting) and 149 (unlawful assembly)
of IPC.

Though the government pleader objected to Pradhan`s
bail petition at the High Court, his lawyer pointed out that
the BJP MLA`s name did not figure in the original FIR made at
Raikia police station in Kandhamal district.

He further argued that none of the witnesses including
the victim`s wife and complainant Kanakarekha Naik named
Pradhan during recording of their statement at the court.

Pradhan through his lawyers had also challenged the
fast track court`s verdict in the High Court.

-PTI