Odisha MLA attends funeral of BJD leader despite testing COVID-19 positive; FIR filed

The case was registered against Umakanta Samantray for violating COVID-19 guidelines during the funeral of senior BJD leader Pradeep Maharathy

Press Trust of India October 10, 2020 14:37:47 IST
Odisha MLA attends funeral of BJD leader despite testing COVID-19 positive; FIR filed

Puri: A case was filed against Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MLA Umakanta Samantray after he attended the funeral of party leader Pradeep Maharathy despite testing positive for COVID- 19, police said on Saturday.

The case was registered at the Sea Beach Police Station in Puri on Friday night under IPC sections 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and section 3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act.

However, no case was registered against the party's Nimapara MLA and School and Mass Education Minister Samir Ranjan Dash who was also accused of attending Maharathy's funeral on 4 October, violating the COVID-19 guidelines.

Jagannath Sena, a local outfit, had lodged a complaint against Dash and Samantray, alleging that they attended the funeral despite testing COVID-positive.

The two ruling party leaders were also accused of violating quarantine protocols.

However, Puri's Superintendent of Police Akhileswar Singh said that the minister had attended the funeral after remaining in qurantine for 17 days. Therefore, no case has been registered against him, Singh said.

Sena claimed that both Dash and Samantray were found to be COVID-positive at the camp held for mandatory testing at the assembly premises on 27 September ahead of the Monsoon session.

As they were diagnosed with COVID-19, the two leaders were not allowed to attend the Monsoon session, which was held
from 29 September to 6 October, it claimed.

Samantray, the MLA from Satyabadi, apologised for the violation. In a video message, he said he committed a mistake by attending Maharathy's funeral.

He said he had rushed to the funeral out of emotion because of his relation with Maharathy.

He had tweeted on 28 September, informing about his coronavirus infection.

Dash, however, said that he had tested positive on 12 September and completed a 17-day quarantine before attending the funeral.

He claimed that he did not attend the Monsoon session as "mild infection" was detected in the test conducted at the
Assembly.

Maharathy, 65, died at a private hospital in Bhubaneswar in the early hours of 4 October. The seven-time MLA from Pipili in Puri district had tested positive for COVID-19 on 14 September.

He was discharged from the hospital following recovery but was admitted again as his condition deteriorated, breathing his last after remaining on ventilator support.

On Friday, Odisha's Minister of State for Home DS Mishra wrote to Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityananda Rai, drawing his attention to the alleged violation of COVID-19 guidelines by Bhubaneswar MP and BJP national spokesperson Aparajita Sarangi.

Sarangi was accused of violating the guideline while celebrating her birthday on Thursday.

She, however, rejected the allegation and raised questions as to why Mishra was silent on the issue pertaining to the alleged violation by Samantray and Dash.

Updated Date:

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