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RTI activist, who moved Odisha Lok Ayukt against BJD MLA, engineer, brutally attacked

Sarbeswar Beura alleged that a road embankment was blown up at the instance of a Biju Janata Dal MLA and an engineer to cover up corruption.

A Right to Information (RTI) activist, who had moved the Odisha Lok Ayukt alleging that a road embankment was blown up at the instance of a Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MLA and an engineer to cover up corruption, was attacked with bombs.

Two bike-borne miscreants hurled bombs targeting Sarbeswar Beura who was returning home with a friend in a car at Imamnagar village in Jajpur district on Saturday evening. The activist and his friend sustained critical injuries and were shifted to the SCB Medical College Hospital, Cuttack.

Mr. Beura’s allegations were against Pranab Balabantray, BJD MLA of Dharmasala constituency, and Naren Jena, a junior engineer.

Apart from the present Lok Ayukt case, the activist’s RTI applications had put many influential people in a spot.

In this case, the Odisha Lok Ayukt had directed the State vigilance directorate to investigate if a road embankment was “blown up at instance of the BJD to suppress substandard work”.

Mr. Beura had alleged that some people, who were involved in substandard construction of an irrigation embankment in Jajpur district, had deliberately blown it up using dynamites during floods on August 28 last year.

They had allegedly carried out the subversive act in order to give an impression that the swirling floodwater had caused the breach. The embankment from Gokarneswar to Majhipada on National Highway 5 was widened and improved at a cost of ₹21.99 crore through a private contractor.

Even Deputy Executive Engineer, Jaraka Division of Works Department, had lodged a police complaint alleging that some miscreants had created man-made breach.

The Odisha Lok Ayukt directed that the vigilance probe be conducted to ascertain if breaches occurred due to substandard work, if the breach was created at the instance of the MLA and the engineer and if any corrupt practice was resorted to by any public servant or any other person in the construction work.

Last year, the death of Ranjan Kumar Das, a 35-year-old RTI activist of Kendrapara district, created a huge furore. He was found dead with injury marks on his face. RTI activists had alleged that he was murdered.

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