Sons Let Heavyweight Fathers Down in Odisha

Politics and bureaucracy in Odisha have been beset with a strange phenomenon in which important personalities fell victim to the wrongdoing of their sons.

Two high profile cases among others are ex-minister Raghunath Mohanty and retired IPS officer Bidya Bhusan Mahanti who had to quit from their respective positions on account of the alleged misdeeds of their sons Raja Shree Mohanty and Bitihotra ahanti respectively.

Raghunath Mohanty had been a minister in the Naveen Patnaik council of ministers since 2005. He was elected to the Assembly from Basta Assembly seat in Balasore district five times in a row since 1990.

However, Mohanty had to resign as a minister and was stripped of the post vice-president in the face of a dowry torture allegation made by his daughter-in-law Barsa Swony Choudhury.

His son Raja Shree married Barsa barely nine months ago in June, 2012. Barsa filed an FIR against five persons including Mohanty, his wife Pritilata, son Raja Shree, daughter Rupashree and son-in-law Suvendu Madhual.

Besides Raja Shree, the ex-law minister and his wife Pritilata have been arrested and jailed for some days before being released on bail.

However, Mohanty's daughter Rupasree and his doctor son-in-law Suvendu Madhual went into hiding and finally secured anticipatory bail from Orissa High Court.

Interestingly, Raghunath Mohanty was arrested from a hideout in West Bengal by the police. Mohanty's escape was embarrassing for the Naveen Patnaik government as the issue rocked the Assembly several times.

Mohanty was a favourite of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik as a minister and rose through party ranks and became one of the five vice-presidents of the ruling BJD.

B B Mahanti on the other hand faced damage to his career and image for allegedly helping his rape convict son Bitihotra nee Biti in jumping the parole.

He missed a golden chance to become the next director general of police in the state.

The retired IPS officier's son Biti was sentenced to seven years in jail after he was convicted for raping a German woman in Rajasthan. 

Mahanti was suspended from service for some time after a criminal case against him for allegedly helping his rape convict son jump parole.

Once the Inspector General of Prisons in Odisha, he had also spent a few days in a jail in Rajasthan.

Also, the opposition parties are demanding the resignation of Odisha's Higher Education Minister Badrinarayan Patra over the Plus-II question paper leak incident.

The opposition has alleged that Patra's son played a major role in the appointment of Devendra Behera as deputy secretary of the Council of Higher Secondary Education at Sambalpur.

Behera has been arrested by the Crime Branch of police for allegedly selling question papers to certain private colleges.

Asked about his son's role, Patra said: "I will take sanyas from politics if my family members link is established in the case. I hail from a prestigious family."

Another high profile case is that of Prafulla Ghadai, a former Finance Minister. Ghadai's MLA son Priti Ranjan Ghadai has been accused of attacking a rival BJD leader in Jajpur district. The senior Ghadai was left embarrassed when his MLA son was subjected to police investigation.

While Prafulla was removed from the ministry allegedly for his support to Rajya Sabha MP Pyarimohan Mohapatra, his son's activities were also said to have contributed to the misfortune of the former Finance Minister.

These apart, senior BJD lawmaker and dalit leader Bishnu Charan Das had to quit as a minister of school and mass education in the Naveen Patnaik government over his son's marksheet scandal. The marks were allegedly increased in the annual high school certificate examination.

Das, however, said he was not removed from the ministry. "I tendered my resignation on moral ground after my son's name cropped up in the controversy. A subsequent probe has given me clean chit," he said.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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