The Orissa High Court on Wednesday granted bail to Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Manoj Pradhan who was convicted in a Kandhamal communal riots case.

Pradhan, convicted by a fast track court at Phulbani on June 29 and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for seven years for his role in the killing of a Christian man during communal riots in Kandhamal in 2008, got conditional bail from the High Court.

The single judge bench of Justice B.P. Das, while granting bail to Pradhan, said the MLA would refrain from influencing witnesses in other cases pending against him.

At least six more cases, including three involving murder charges, are pending against Pradhan who had been acquitted in seven other cases.

Pradhan, however, could not be released from jail on Wednesday as he had to make a fresh bail petition in the lower court in Phulbani as per direction of the High Court, the BJP MLA’s lawyer Sarbeswar Behera said.

The BJP MLA from communally sensitive G. Udaygiri Assembly segment was sent to jail after the fast track court judge S.K. Das had pronounced the punishment for him and another person for their role in the killing of Parikhita Naik, a Christian from Budedi village near Tiangia under Raikia police station limit on August 27, 2008.