Odisha minister quits, daughter-in-law complains of torture
Bhubaneswar: Raghunath Mohanty, Odisha's minister for housing and urban development, Friday resigned after his daughter-in-law accused him of torturing her for dowry.
"I have resigned on moral grounds to enable police to conduct an independent probe. There is no truth in the allegation," Mohanty told IANS after submitting his resignation letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here.
Mohanty also held the portfolios of law, and information technology,
His resignation comes a day after his daughter-in-law Barsa Swony Choudhury lodged a written complaint at the police station of the district headquarters town of Balasore, about 215 km from here, that the minister and his family had been demanding dowry of Rs 25 lakh and a multi-utility vehicle.
In her complaint, Choudhury alleged that the minister and his family tortured her physically and mentally, ever since she married the minister's son Raja Shree Mohanty June 2012.
She claimed that her parents had given Rs 10 lakh at the time of the marriage, as was demanded, but her father-in-law and the rest of the family were unhappy and insisted that her parents should pay Rs 25 lakh and a multi-utility vehicle.
Police have registered a case against Mohanty and four others of his family under the anti-dowry act.
The cabinet minister, however, refuted the allegations.
"The allegations are false, and everybody knows we would not do that. The truth will be out soon, and the law will take its course," Mohanty said.
The issue also rocked the state assembly after opposition members disrupted the proceedings and demanded a statement from the chief minister over the issue.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik told the assembly that Mohanty's resignation was forwarded to Governor MC Bhandare for acceptance. He also added that the Human Rights Protection Cell would investigate the case.
However, Patnaik's reply could not pacify opposition members, who trooped into the well of the house and demanded immediate arrest of Mohanty and his family members. As the pandemonium persisted, Speaker Pradip Mohanty adjourned the house for the day.