Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Baleswar, Apr 3:
After admitting the divorce petition filed by Rajashree Mohanty, the son of former Odisha minister Raghunath Mohanty, the family court here has issued summons to his estranged wife Barsa Swony Choudhury to appear before it on May 2.
“The court has admitted our divorce suit after which notice has been served to Barsa Swony Choudhury to appear before the court on May 2,” Rajashree’s counsel Harekrushna Dash said.
Rajashree Mohanty had filed a divorce petition (116/15) before the family court here on March 24 and the court admitted the case on March 30. In his petition, Rajashree had cited mental torture to him and his family members, complete desertion for the last two years and non-performance of duties legally binding on her as the grounds for seeking legal separation from Barsa.
It may be recalled that on March 14, 2013, Barsa had accused Rajashree, her father-in-law Raghunath Mohanty, mother-in-law Pritilata Mohanty, sister-in-law Rupashree Madhual and brother-in-law Suvendu Madhual of torturing her physically and mentally for dowry.
In her complaint, she had accused the Mohanty family of physically and mentally torturing her and demanding Rs 25 lakh and luxury car as dowry.
A case was registered at Baleswar Town Police Station under sections 498(a) (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty), 448 (trespass), 506 (criminal intimidation), 34 (common intention) of the IPC and section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act (penalty for dowry).
After public outcry and Opposition protests, the five-time MLA resigned as Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Law and Information Technology on March 15, 2013.
Following the case, Rajashree was arrested by the Human Rights Protection Cell (HRPC) on March 17, 2013 from near Cuttack. After cooling his heels behind bars for 21 days, Rajashree was granted conditional bail on April 5, 2013 by Baleswar District and Sessions Court in the dowry case against him.
Subsequently, the then Basta BJD MLA Raghunath Mohanty and his wife were arrested on March 30 from West Bengal after evading police for a fortnight. However, the couple walked out of jail on April 2 on bail.
The other two co-accused, Raghunath Mohanty’s daughter Rupashree and son-in-law Suvendu Madhual, however, got the reprieve from the Orissa High Court on April 8, 2013 when it granted anticipatory bail to the duo.
Notably, Rajashree and Barsa had tied the nuptial knot on June 24, 2012. However, less than nine months after their marriage, the latter had levelled serious allegations of dowry torture against the Mohanty family.
The allegations against the Mohanty family spelt a doom for Raghunath Mohanty’s political career as he was denied a ticket by the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in the last Assembly elections in 2014.