This Article is From Jun 10, 2019

Allegations Confirmed Against BJD Lawmaker Who Made Engineer Do Sit-Ups

The inquiry was launched after a video showing Patnagarh MLA Saroj Kumar Meher forcing the engineer to do sit-ups in public in Bolangir district went viral last week.

Allegations Confirmed Against BJD Lawmaker Who Made Engineer Do Sit-Ups

An administrative inquiry has confirmed allegations against Patnagarh MLA Saroj Kumar Meher.

Bhubaneswar:

An administrative inquiry has confirmed allegations against a newly elected Biju Janata Dal lawmaker that he "manhandled" and "insulted" a junior Public Works Department engineer, a senior official said on Monday.

The inquiry was launched after a video showing Patnagarh MLA Saroj Kumar Meher forcing the engineer to do sit-ups in public in Bolangir district went viral last week. The district collector had sought a report on the incident.

Patnagarh sub-collector had been tasked with probing the incident.

"I have received a report from Patnagarh sub-collector confirming the incident and allegations of manhandling and insult of the junior engineer," Bolangir District Collector Arindam Dakua said.

The district administration will send the report to the state government and recommend action against all those involved in the incident, he said.

"It is for the government to take further steps," he added.

A case had been registered against Saroj Meher at Patnagarh police station on Friday, a day after a complaint was registered by the wife of the engineer, Jayakant Sabar.

Mr Meher was charged under different sections of the Indian Penal Code and the SC/ST Act, a police officer said.

"An investigation is in progress and appropriate steps will be taken in due course," he said.

The legislator's action had triggered a row, with the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party targeting the ruling BJD government and demanding Saroj Meher's immediate arrest. The Congress also condemned the incident and sought action against the MLA.

Mr Meher later apologised for his action and said he was compelled to ask the engineer to do sit-ups to assauge public anger.

He claimed that the people in his constituency were angry over poor quality of road construction and "could have harmed" the engineer if he did not ask him to do sit-ups.

The family members and relatives of the engineer have demanded immediate arrest of Mr Meher and stringent action against him for his "high-handedness".

Bolangir District Adivasi Manch and Odisha Diploma Engineers' Service Association (ODESA) have also demanded stern action against the legislator.

"The association condemns the act and demands that legal action be taken against him (Meher) immediately," a leader of ODESA said.

Mr Meher had on June 5 visited the Belpada block in Bolangir, where local people complained about the poor construction of the Mandal-Belpada bypass.

In the video clip, the engineer is seen apologising for alleged laxity in performing his duties, but Mr Meher does not relent.

The MLA allegedly threatened the engineer with "mob thrashing", following which the latter did sit-ups on the road.