Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Jan 23:
While charges have flown thick and fast against politicians in the massive chit fund scam in the state, a police officer is now in the dock for intimidating the man who has filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking a CBI inquiry into it.
Alok Jena, a social activist who recently joined the Aam Admi Party (AAP), has filed an FIR against Crime Branch DSP Pramod Panda for threatening to ‘eliminate’ him and his family members if the case is not withdrawn.
In his FIR lodged at Tilak Nagar police station in New Delhi yesterday, Jena accused the senior police official of acting at the behest of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
“While I had come to the Supreme Court to meet my lawyer in connection with a PIL I have filed regarding the chit fund scam, Panda, DSP of CB, who met me on January 20, came to me at Mukesh canteen near SC and threatened to eliminate me and my family, if I don’t withdraw the PIL. He claimed that he has been sent by the Odisha chief minister for this purpose,” read the FIR, a copy of which is in possession of OST.
Jena also alleged that the CB officer had visited his apartment at Dwaraka in New Delhi to inquire about him on January 19. He said he had filed an FIR in this connection at the Dwaraka police station the same day.
“At about 4 pm, a person came to the flat, plot no.1, Sahajahamabad society, Ssec-II, Dwaraka. He asked the president of the society to meet him. The president, MD Jaffer asked the gate keeper to let the person come to the flat. Upon inquiry by the president, he replied that he has come from West Bengal and that he belongs to Odisha Crime Branch and showed an I card of CB,” said the FIR.
The FIR also revealed that the CB officer took some information about Jena’s flat and took a few snaps of his flat while Jena and his wife were in the flat.
Repeated attempts by OST to contact Crime Branch officials, including ADG BK Sharma, for their version proved futile as none of them responded to phone calls and text messages.
The Naveen Patnaik government appears to have been rattled by the very real possibility of the apex court ordering a CBI inquiry into the chit fund scam, said to be worth several thousand crore rupees.
A division bench of the court consisting of Justice TS Thakur and C Nagappan, it may be noted, had dismissed all arguments put up by the state government through its counsel, noted lawyer Gopal Subramaniam, against a CBI inquiry into the case during the last hearing on Tuesday.
The court had asked the petitioner’s counsel Suresh Tripathy to prepare a list of companies with inter-state operations and present it to the court at the next hearing on January 28.
If the Supreme Court, as is widely expected, orders a CBI inquiry into the scam that day, it could prove disastrous for the Naveen Patnaik government in an election year.
What could make things even more difficult for the BJD government is the possibility of a CBI inquiry into the mega mining scam. Aam Admi Party (AAP) leader Prashant Bhushan has filed a petition in the apex court demanding a CBI probe into the case in the light of the Justice MB Shah Commission report, which has severely indicted the Odisha government for its acts of omission and commission in the scam.