Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri/ Bhubaneswar/ Cuttack, Feb 21:
Odisha minister for Law, Culture and Tourism and Puri MLA Maheswar Mohanty was shot at around 9 pm tonight by an unknown assailant in Puri.
He has sustained two bullet injuries in his hand and shoulder, sources said. Although one of the bullets is believed to be still lodged in the lower back on the left side, the minister is reportedly out of danger.
He was driving a scooter when he faced the attack near Amala Club, here. By all accounts, it was a bid on his life.
Mohanty was first rushed to the Puri district hospital but was later shifted to the Kalinga Hospital in Bhubaneswar, sources added.
The Puri CDMO said there are three injury points on his body, but his pulse and other vital parameters were stable.
The driver of the ambulance Prasahant Kumar Mohanty said the minister was accompanied by Dr. Haribandhu Mishra of the Puri district hospital and Sabyasachi Mohapatra, a councillor in the Puri municipality.
It was around midnight by the time the 108 ambulance carrying the injured minister reached the hospital, where an experienced team of doctors was already in attendance. He was rushed straight to bed no 136 in the intensive care unit (ICU), our reporter Santosh Jagdev said from the hospital.
He said the minister was in his senses though he did not talk much while being wheeled into the ICU.
Coming out of the ICU, BJD deputy chief whip Sanjay Dasburma said the minister was stable. A scan had revealed that the bullet was stuck on the seventh rib and the process to remove was on, he said.
Chief minister Naveen Patnaik, while expressing deep concern over the incident, has directed the district police to nab the culprits as early as possible.
The Puri police have recovered two empty cartridges from spot and sealed the area. They are also checking all escape routes to make sure the assailants do not leave the town.
The incident has triggered panic across Puri.
It is widely suspected that the attack could have been the fall out of either political rivalry or disputes over real-estate business in the temple town.
Both BJD and police sources have refused to speculate on the motive or the people behind the attack .