Suspended Orissa assembly woman marshal sues newspaper

April 10th, 2008 - 12:18 am ICT by admin  

Bhubaneswar, April 9 (IANS) A suspended woman marshal of the Orissa legislative assembly, who accused the house speaker of sexual harassment last month, Wednesday filed a Rs.50 million defamation suit against an Oriya newspaper for publishing an allegedly objectionable report. Gayatri Panda filed a suit against Pabitra Mohan Samantaray, editor of Oriya daily Paryabeskyak and its printer and publisher Budhadev Mohapatra, in the Court of Civil Judge (senior division), Bhubaneswar, her lawyer Arup Chand told IANS.

In her petition, Gayatri said that the paper March 27 carried a news report that had some defamatory and derogative sentences, alleging that she was having an illicit relationship with a minister and that she had also travelled abroad with a minister.

Panda last month alleged assembly Speaker Moheswar Mohanty was sexually harassing her. Her allegation caused a political storm, forcing Mohanty to resign on moral grounds.

But the ruling coalition says the charge is a conspiracy against the speaker and Chief Minister Navin Patnaik even sacked Sports Minister Debashis Nayak for conspiring against Mohanty.

While the special women police and the state women’s commission are probing the issue, Patnaik has ordered the state human right commission to investigate and submit a report.

Panda, however, said she was dissatisfied with the probe.

“I fear the police is under pressure and that is why Mohanty has not been arrested,” she told IANS. “The police have questioned me several times, but have not taken any action against Mohanty yet,” she said.

“I am not happy with the progress. The government should hand over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI),” she said. “I will move the court for justice.”

Panmda also alleged that she was being threatened to withdraw her charges of sexual harassment.

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