Chopper row: BJD demands arrest of Baijayant Panda, his friend

Bhubaneswar: Trouble seems to be mounting for ex-MP Baijayant Panda as legislators of Odisha’s ruling BJD today demanded his arrest for allegedly hovering a helicopter over ‘no flying eco-sensitive zone’ of Chilika lagoon on September 15.

Holding banners, many BJD MLAs today staged a dharna near the Mahatma Gandhi statue on the premises of Odisha Legislative Assembly demanding Panda’s arrest.

The ruling party members also demanded the arrest of his friend Abhijit Iyer Mitra, who was present in the chopper while Panda was flying it.

Worth mentioning, Iyer had on September 16 posted a video on Twitter making remarks on the Sun Temple in Konark while being present at the spot. Alleging that the remarks were distasteful and it hurt sentiments of the people of Odisha, the BJD MLAs demanded Iyer’s arrest.

He had also posted two videos on the microblogging site on September 15 in which he is seen flying in the helicopter and ‘circumambulating’ the Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri and the Sun Temple.

Notably, Puri police had yesterday seized the chopper flown by Panda on charges of violating flight rules and entering the ‘no flying eco-sensitive zone’ of Chilika lagoon. The action was taken on the basis of a complaint lodged by Assistant Conservator of Forests (ACF), Chilika Development Authority (CDA) Binod Acharya with the Marine Police Station at Arakhakuda in Puri district.

A case has been registered under Sections 277/278/336/431 of IPC and Section 11 of Aircraft Act, 1934.

Also read: ‘Seaplane’ lands on Chilika lake: Police seize Baijayant Panda’s helicopter.

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