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Odisha MP Hansda attends LS; retains seat

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi/Bhubaneswar, Mar 20:

Odisha MP from Mayurbhanj Lok Sabha seat Ramachandra Hansda, a co-accused in the Nabadiganta Financial Services scam attended the Lok Sabha on the last day of its Budget Session today.

Ramchandra Hansda  (Pic- Biswaranjan Mishra)
Ramchandra Hansda
(Pic- Biswaranjan Mishra)

Hansda who has been suspended from the BJD since his arrest in connection with the chit fund scam and was lodged at the Jharpada jail in Bhubaneswar was released from judicial custody yesterday evening.

Jharpada jail authorities had handed over Hansda as per High Court orders to the custody of the CBI following an Odisha High Court order allowing him to attend Lok Sabha for a day in order to retain his seat which he would have lost otherwise since according to rules a seat is declared vacant on a member not attending sitting of the Parliament of Assembly at a stretch for 60 days and today being the last day of the session.

As per the terms laid down in the order, jail authorities handed over Hansda to the CBI, which escorted him to Delhi.

After his attending the Lok Sabha today, the Security Officer of Lok Sabha will hand him over to the custody of the CBI which will produce him again at the designated CBI court in Bhubaneswar by March 23 as per the court order.

Hansda had petitioned the High Court that he be granted permission to attend Parliament to retain his membership as the law provides for declaring a seat as vacant if the member fails to attend its sitting for 60 days at a stretch.

Hansda’s advocate had pleaded during the hearing on the matter that his client was prepared to attend Parliament in custody of police or any other agency as suggested by the court and had cited several earlier cases of courts allowing MPs and MLAs to attend Parliament and Assemblies in similar circumstances.

Hansda’s lawyer had contended that though  the charge sheet had already been submitted by the CBI in the case and there being  little possibility of him being granted bail, he should be allowed to attend Parliament under whatever terms and conditions the court may impose to retain his membership, which would lapse otherwise.

Senior Odisha High Court lawyer Pitamber Acharya had told reporters at Cuttack yesterday that the court had allowed Hansda to attend Parliament for a day so that Hansda doesn’t lose his seat in the Lok Sabha and save the state exchequer from entailing a huge expenditure  of holding a bye-election in the event of the seat falling vacant.