Union minister thrashed us with chair, say 2 Odisha officials; he calls it a ploy
BHUBANESWAR: Two Odisha government officials on Friday accused Odisha MP and union minister Bishweswar Tudu of assaulting them with a chair because they didn’t bring an official file with them to a meeting called by Turdu at the local Bharatiya Janata Party office in Baripada town of Mayurbanj district.
Turdu, the union minister of state for tribal affairs and jal shakti, represents Mayurbhanj constituency in the Lok Sabha.
Mayurbhanj district planning board assistant director Debasish Mohapatra, who reportedly ended up with a broken arm, said he along with deputy director Aswini Mallick were called for a review meeting of MPLADs scheme at the minister’s office in Baripada town’s BJP office on Friday afternoon when Tudu suddenly flew into a rage and started beating them up with a plastic chair.
Tudu, who was elevated as a union minister in last year’s cabinet reshuffle, however, rejected the charge. “These are typical ploys by (Biju Janata Dal) ahead of the panchayat polls to derail our campaign. I am more focussed on the party campaign,” he said.
Voting for Odisha’s panchayati raj institutions is scheduled in five phases between February 16 and 24. The counting of votes will be held on February 26, 27 and 28
Mohapatra and his colleague, deputy director Ashwini Mallick, insisted that the minister was wrong.
“My left hand was fractured due to the sudden attack by the minister,” Mohapatra said from the hospital bed. Hours later, they filed a formal complaint against the minister
Inspector Birendra Senapati of Baripada town police station said the investigation in the case is on. A first information report (FIR) has been registered under sections 323 (Voluntarily causing hurt), 325 (grievous hurt), 294 (using obscene words) and 506 (criminal intimidation) at Baripada town police station.
Deputy director Ashwini Mallick said the minister’s personal assistant first asked them on Thursday to meet the minister at the party office along with a file related to Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) on Thursday but they declined, citing the code of conduct that has kicked in due to the panchayat polls.
“We told his PA that the minister can come to the district planning office or we can meet him in the Circuit House with the file. On Friday morning, he again called up asking us to visit him at a shopping mall in Baripada with the file. Later, his PA said we can meet him at his party office with the necessary information (but without the file) which we agreed,” said Mallick.
Mallick said when he and Mohapatra met the minister at the latter’s party office, he lost his temper because they hadn’t brought the MPLADS file. “He verbally abused us and then started hitting us with a plastic chair without any provocation. We somehow managed to run away,” said Mallick.
Tudu, who once worked as an engineer with the state water resources department, has been at loggerheads with the state government, accusing it of creating hurdles in the implementation of various central government welfare schemes.
The union minister landed in a controversy in October last year after a video of his outburst against government officials at a review meeting in Odisha’s Keonjhar district emerged. In this, the minister was heard saying that in his home district Mayurbhanj, officers would be given a sound thrashing for neglecting their duties.