Biju Janata Dal legislator Pradeep Maharathy was arrested on Monday after he allegedly led an attack against a team of Election Commission officials who were conducting a raid on his farmhouse in Puri district of Odisha on Sunday, the Hindustan Times reported. Maharathy is the Biju Janata Dal candidate for the Pipili Assembly constituency.
Director General of Police RP Sharma confirmed that Maharathy was arrested following a complaint, reported The New Indian Express. Puri Superintendent of Police Umashankar Dash said Maharathy, who is a former state minister, was arrested after a lengthy interrogation.
Maharathy has been charged under various sections of Indian Penal Code, including an attempt to murder, assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty, wrongful restraint and rioting and Section 123 of the Representation of People’s Act. Dash said 15 others were involved in the attack and would be arrested soon.
The election team had gone to the farmhouse after receiving information about distribution of cash and liquor. “While we were keeping a watch outside the former minister’s farmhouse at Hunkeipur village, Maharathy suddenly arrived at the spot and started chasing us,” Executive Magistrate Rabi Narayan Patra had said.
Patra was reportedly beaten severely and is now recovering at Capital Hospital in Bhubaneswar. “His workers attacked us with bamboo sticks.” Five polling officials were injured in the attack.
Maharathy said he was sad to know about attack on the Election Commission squad at his farmhouse and claimed that neither he nor his party was involved in the attack, according to Odisha TV.
Voting in Pipili Assembly constituency under the Puri Lok Sabha constituency is scheduled to be held on Tuesday along with 41 other seats. Six Lok Sabha seats in the state will also go to polls on the same day.