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Regular-article-logo Monday, 24 June 2024

Domestic strife hits MP and actress

Cases in Odisha and Delhi

Subhashish Mohanty Bhubaneswar Published 07.09.20, 01:23 AM
Anubhav Mohanty

Anubhav Mohanty Telegraph picture

Odia actor-turned-politician Anubhav Mohanty, who had proved to be an asset for the ruling Biju Janata Dal in the last elections, and his actress wife Varsha Priyadarshini have filed cases against each other.

Varsha has filed a domestic violence case against her husband in the sub-divisional judicial magistrate (SDJM) court, Cuttack.

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On the other hand, the Kendrapara BJD MP has approached the principal judge family court in Delhi, seeking divorce and alleged that Varsha had failed both as a wife and daughter-in-law. He said that she denied him his conjugal rights.

The court at Cuttack will hear Varsha’s case on Monday. Anubhav’s case in Delhi is scheduled for October 7.

Varsha’s case was filed under Section 12 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act against the MP for allegedly assaulting and harassing her. Varsha also asked for a compensation of Rs 13 crore besides Rs 2 crore towards medical expenses and monthly maintenance of Rs 50,000.

Anubhav and Varsha were the most popular couple and they had a large following in Odisha. “Both Varsha and Anubhav acted in several of films. We pray that the issue is amicably settled and their followers are not heartbroken,” said eminent film critic Surya Deo. The couple tied the knot in February, 2014.

The issue has come in handy for the Opposition to target Naveen Patnaik for whom Anubhav had served as one of the star campaigners in 2014 and 2019 elections. Immediately after the 2014 general elections Naveen had sent Anubhav to the Rajya Sabha.

Naveen had fielded Anubhav as the candidate against two-time MP from Kendrapara, Baijayant Jay Panda in 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Anubhav defeated Jay Panda by more than 1 lakh votes.

However, Anubhav’s marital life has been in doldrums for the last one year. Varsha in her petition alleged that Anubhav is a drunkard who tortures her mentally and physically. She also accused him of beating her under the influence of alcohol.

Varsha Priyadarshini

Varsha Priyadarshini Telegraph picture

The actress alleged that Anubhav had extra martial affairs. She said during lockdown she remained alone in Cuttack while Anubhav was in Delhi.

On the other hand in his petition, Anubhav denied these allegations and accused her of denying him a conjugal life. “Whenever tried to have physical touch or make relation with the respondent (Varsha), she never allowed for the same,” the petition said, adding that she failed as a daughter-in-law and always “tried to give him mental and physical agony”.

In a press statement, Anubhav said, “My marriage has been in a bad shape since long. I have tried my level best to reason, to explain, to understand, and to make amends; unfortunately, things did not shape up as expected. Hence, it seemed the best way to part ways amicably. I and my family sincerely tried our best for a mutual separation just because we were concerned about each other’s social image and dignity.”

He also said how he wanted that his petition did not leak as it was a case of marital discord. He appealed to all not to resort to rumour mongering. “It’s always said that marriages are made in heaven but they fail quite several times. And my marriage is not the first one or the last one to fail,” he said, adding that he deeply respects Varsha for the successful woman she is.

As Anubhav is a high profile leader, the issue has acquired political colour. “Naveen Babu used to say that we must respect women and he wants everyone to respect Maa (Mother) and Mati (Soil). But here his party MP is torturing a woman and he is silent,” said senior Congress MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati.

Former minister and senior BJD MLA Aurobinda Dhali said: “The issue is personal. It should be settled amicably. The issue is in the court. The party has nothing to do with it. Our leader enjoys a clean image.”

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