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Odisha Agriculture Minister Pradeep Maharathy Resigns Over Remark On Pipili Gangrape And Murder Case

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| January 6 , 2019 , 17:59 IST

Senior BJD leader and Odisha minister of Agriculture and Farmers Empowerment Pradeep Maharathy, who made a controversial statement on the acquittal of murder and rape accused, resigned from Naveen Patnaik's government on Sunday.

The resignation of Maharathy came a day after the opposition party Congress and the BJP demanded Maharathy's resignation for his comments on the acquittal of two persons arrested in connection with Pipili gang rape.

While addressing media after his resignation, Maharathy stated, “I have deep respect for the Chief Minister and the party. Therefore, to avoid any further pressure on the party, I resigned from the ministerial post.”

Responding to a question on whether the CM has directed him to resign, Maharathy said, “I decided spontaneously to quit the post. Otherwise, I would not have held a press conference.”

In the infamous Pipli gang-rape and murder case, a 19-year-old Dalit girl was raped in 2011 and died in a coma in 2012 sparking a state-wide furore over the incident.

The two prime accused in the case were acquitted by Bhubaneswar Additional District Judge in December last year.

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Commenting on the verdict, Maharathy had said, “Truth has prevailed and it is now for the police to find out how the victim died. My sympathies are with the victim, but I respect the court’s verdict.”

The BJP Mahila Morcha and Odisha Pradesh Mahila Congress had threatened to launch state-wide protest over his remarks.

Odisha Pradesh Mahila Congress also hurled tomatoes and eggs at the residential quarters of Maharathy demanding his ouster from the Cabinet and the BJP women's wing workers tried to gherao CM Patnaik's residence.