CUTTACK: A judge of Orissa High Court scheduled to hear the case related to alleged poll fund irregularities of CM Naveen Patnaik today refused to hold the trial and requested the Chief Justice to set up a separate bench for hearing.
Without citing any reason, Justice SK Mishra said he thought deeply about the case and decided to stay away from the trial and release the case to chief justice requesting him to set up a separate bench to hold the trial.
Reports said a fresh petition submitted by root petitioner Subash Mohapatra in Supreme Court might have made him take the decision as it questioned his integrity.
Mishra assumed Mohapatra’s plea in the apex court as a fact, but ruled out it as a reason.
Sources said rights activist Subash Mohapatra recently moved the Supreme Court apprehending biased trial in Orissa HC and prayed the apex court to shift the hearing to Delhi High Court.
Mohapatra initially had knocked High Court door seeking cancellation of Patnaik’s candidature for filing false affidavit on 2014 poll expenditure.
Later, a separate petition was filed by BJP’s Debananda Mohapatra who had unsuccessfully contested from Hinjili against the CM alleging the same.
The High Court had earlier issued a notice to the Election Commission of India to submit a reply after a preliminary hearing of the case filed by the rights activist.
The High Court was scheduled to hear both the petitions jointly.
Input from OTV