Staff Reporter

His supporters resort to agitation

BERHAMPUR: Congress MLA Ramesh Jena was sent to Berhampur circle jail as his bail plea was rejected.

The MLA from Sanakhemundi in Ganjam district was arrested in Visakhapatnam in connection with the murder of an alleged criminal gang leader Ravi Behera alias Chicken Ravi. The city police brought him from Visakhapatnam at late night on Thursday. He was produced before the Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate (SDJM) who rejected his bail plea.

Jena's arrest had its impact on the normal life in Ganjam district as his supporters resorted to agitation. As he happened to be the president of the Ganjam district private bus owners' association and the minibus trekker association, all these passenger vehicles remained off the road in the city. All trading establishments on the stretch of the NH 217 from Gate Bazar square to First Gate remained closed. In the morning, some of his supporters, led by his father, also tried to block the highway. But police cleared off the road blockade.

Its impact was also felt in Sanakhemundi constituency. Trees were cut down to block the Berhampur-Paralakhemundi road near Taptapani ghat road. Demonstrations were held at Patapur.

Adequate security arrangements were made to avoid any untoward incidents in the city and Sanakhemundi area following the arrest of Jena. Seven platoons of armed police were deployed in the city, said Sub-Divisional Police Officer, Sarat Mohapatra.

It was alleged that rivalry had led to murder of Ravi. The main accused arrested in the case had confessed that Jena was the main conspirator behind the murder and he had provided financial and tactical support including sharp shooters and arms for the murder. Since then Jena was absconding.

Jena refused to take food inside the Berhampur circle jail to protest against his arrest. The jail officials said his health was in good condition and he was consuming liquids like tea.