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Police register criminal case against Orissa assembly Speaker

Source: PTI
March 29, 2008 22:56 IST
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Two days after receiving a complaint of sexual harassment from a woman employee of Orissa Assembly, the police on Saturday registered a case against Speaker Maheswar Mohanty, charging him with intending to outrage her modesty.

"A case has been registered against the Speaker at Mahila police station in Bhubaneswar this evening," Police Commissioner (Bhubaneswar-Cuttack) Binay Behera told PTI.

Sources said that the criminal case was registered against Mohanty under Sections 506 (threatening), 507 (anonymous communication), 509 (obscene and objectionable gesture or act intended to outrage the modesty of a woman) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.

The Commissioner said the police registered the case after verifying the authenticity of the signature made in the complaint letter, submitted by women activists on behalf of lady marshal Gayatri Panda.

Sources said the police officials, who collected samples of signature of Panda from the assembly secretariat on Friday, where she had been working since 2001, today found similarities in the handwritings.

Earlier on March 27, the lady marshal had filed an FIR with the police alleging sexual harassment by the Speaker. The police, however, took two days to register a case as it could not contact the victim or any other person from her family.

When contacted, Speaker Maheswar Mohanty told PTI that he welcomed investigation by any agency. Mohanty, however, turned down the demand for his resignation in the wake of the criminal case being framed against him.

Meanwhile, women activists who were demanding registration of a case against Mohanty, said the police could not take action against him as long as he held the Speaker's post.

"There is no meaning of registering a criminal case against Mohanty as he still occupies the Speaker's post," said Rutuparna Mohanty, the activist through whom Panda lodged the FIR with the police.

"Therefore, Mohanty must resign in order to pave the way for an impartial inquiry," she said.

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