Bhubaneswar: In a surprise move, the Odisha government Tuesday decided to drop all the cases against Abhijit Iyer-Mitra, the Delhi-based journalist and defence analyst who is now in Bhubaneswar jail.

“Sri Abhijit Iyer Mitra has made an appeal to the Government of Odisha to consider withholding sanction to prosecute him in certain criminal cases pending against him. He has appealed to ‘accept his apology and contrition’ in having wounded the sentiments of people of Odisha without intention,” a statement issued by the Home Department said.

Mitra was arrested for his derogatory remarks about Konark temple and Jaganaath Temple in his twitter . He was also summoned by the state assembly for his remarks against the legislators. The state assembly speaker following the recommendation of a committee headed by Narasinha Mishra had pardoned Abhijit earlier.

Abhijit, who has been lodged in Bhubaneswar jail, has admitted to the Capital Hospital, government hospital in Bhubanesar city, as he fell sick.

The Home Department said that the state government took a decision to this effect after receiving Mitra’s letter to the chief minister and the chief secretary, an official release said.

“Taking into account his representation, the government have decided not to accord sanction of prosecution in cases where the prosecution has been sought for and also decided to take steps to withdraw other pending cases against him by following laid down procedures,” it added.

Notably, Mitra was arrested on 23 October after he posted a video on his Twitter handle, criticising Odisha, Lord Jagannath, Konark temple and Odisha lawmakers.