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Minister shot at in Puri

Bhubaneswar, Feb. 21: Odisha minister Maheshwar Mohanty was shot at tonight in Puri, his hometown and Assembly constituency.

The 58-year-old minister, who has been representing the holy town in the Assembly four times in a row, took two bullets — one in his left hand and the other on his back.

Mohanty was fired upon while returning home on a two-wheeler around 9.25pm at Amana Club near SCS College, 150 metres from his house.

Profusely bleeding, Mohanty, who fell from the two-wheeler, was rushed to the district hospital.

Health minister Damodar Rout said Mohanty’s condition was stable but the government was prepared to shift him to the SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack, over 100km away.

The assailants were not identified till late tonight. A police officer said the minister was not accompanied by his personal security officer in Puri probably because it was his hometown.

Mohanty was the Speaker of the Odisha Assembly from 2004 to 2008 when he had to demit office in the wake of a controversy.

The minister began his political career as a councillor. Attacked in January 2012 while campaigning for the panchayat polls, he had suffered head injuries.