Register FIR against minister: Orissa High Court

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Cuttack: The Orissa High Court has directed the state police to register an FIR against state minister Padmanabha Behera as per a complaint filed by a man alleging that Behera had provided false educational qualification in his election affidavit.

The HC had given such a direction to the police earlier this month, the certified copy of the order was available Tuesday. Bhagban Bagh, a voter of Birmaharajpur Assembly segment of Sonepur district from where the commerce and transport minister was elected as an MLA on a BJD ticket, in his police complaint, had alleged that Behera had provided false affidavits regarding his education at the time of filing his nomination papers.

A native of Kandhamal district, Behera had won from Phulbani Assembly segment in 2004 and resigned in 2008 as steel and mines minister following ethnic violence in Kandhamal. Since then, Behera had been returning to the Assembly in 2009, 2014 and 2019 winning from Birmaharajpur.

While in 2009, he had maintained in his affidavit of passing HSC examination in 1972, in 2014 elections, he mentioned his year of passing HSC examination was 1973. Surprisingly, in 2019 affidavit, Behera’s educational qualification is mentioned as passed Class VIII and not a matriculate.

Bhagaban had made a police complaint December 13, 2019. When police refused to register his complaint as an FIR, Bhagban had approached the Orissa High Court seeking judicial intervention.

Considering the submissions made in the HC, Justice Dr BR Sarangi has directed the Birmaharajpur IIC to register the written complaint of Bhagban Bagh as an FIR and take follow up action.

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