A committee constituted by the Odisha Assembly to look into journalist Abhijit Iyer Mitra's derogatory remarks against the state, its places of worship and the lawmakers issued a notice on Friday, seeking the presence of the journalist before its members.
Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra, who is also the chairman of the committee, said Mr Iyer Mitra has been asked to appear before the panel members on October 11.
"It has been decided to issue a notice to Iyer Mitra to appear in person before the House committee on October 11, 2018. He is urged to remain present at 11 am on October 11 in room number 54 of the Odisha Assembly," he told reporters.
Mr Iyer Mitra had come to Odisha on September 15, apparently at the invitation of former MP Baijayant Panda. After touring Puri, Konark and Chilika, he allegedly posted derogatory remarks on social media insulting the state, its culture and tradition and the lawmakers.
He was arrested by Odisha Police, with help of Delhi Police, on September 20 on the charge of outraging religious sentiments of the people.
A Delhi court later granted him bail on a bond of Rs 1 lakh and directed him to join the investigation at Konark police station.
The six-member committee sought Iyer Mitra's deposal after recording statements of Odisha DGP, Director of Intelligence, and head of two media houses Friday, Mr Mishra said.
"Taking into account evidences and statements of the witnesses... a prima facie has been made against Iyer Mitra. The committee will like to hear his version in regard to alleged derogatory remarks made against the state, Konark Temple, Jagannath Temple and the lawmakers," he added.
The House panel, with BJD MLAs Debi Prasad Mishra, Pramila Mallick, Arun Sahoo, Sanjay Dasburma and BJP legislature party leader K V Singhdeo as members, was constituted on September 20, the day Mr Iyer Mitra was arrested.
It is scheduled to submit its probe report on the first day of the next session of the Odisha Assembly.
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