Bhubaneswar, Feb 5 :
The state government is all set to make a ‘sacrificial lamb’ out of a DSP rank officer of the Crime Branch for threatening well-known political activist Alok Jena with ‘physical elimination’ if he did not withdraw the PIL he has filed in the Supreme Court demanding a CBI probe into massive chit fund scam in the state.
Reliable sources have told OST that DSP Pramod Panda has been summoned by the Home secretary to appear before him on Friday, February 7 to explain his ‘misconduct’ during his trip to Delhi between 19 and 22 January in what is being seen as a ‘summary trial’ for acting ‘on his own’, to be followed by stringent action.
Alok Jena has filed two separate FIRs in Delhi against Panda for his unauthorized entry on January 19 into the Shahajanabad apartment where he stays and also for allegedly threatening him with ‘dire consequences’ if he did not withdraw his petition on the chit fund scam near the Supreme Court on January 22.
It is inconceivable how the Crime Branch officer could be acting ‘on his own’ when he said he had been sent by the Chief Minister in full view of several advocates, journalists and others just outside the Supreme Court.
Sources said Panda’s actions and threats were captured on CCTV when he confronted Jena near the Supreme Court in the presence of a host of television media crew, including an Odia channel. The officer had perhaps not bargained for the fact that every inch of an area within one km radius of the apex court is covered by CCTV cameras.
Jena has submitted CCTV and video footage of Panda’s action in both cases to the police as well as the apex court, sources added.
According to sources, the state government has been advised by its senior counsels in the Supreme Court to take strong action against Panda immediately or ‘face the music’ on February 11 when a two-judge bench will resume final hearing in the case.
This advice came soon after Jena’s counsel Suresh Tripathy apprised the Supreme Court bench hearing the PIL of the intimidation that his client had been subjected to by an official of the state Crime Branch, which is inquiring into the chit fund scam, sources added.
According to the same sources,DSP Panda and another police officer were deputed to Delhi between 18 and 23 January on ‘official duty’. Their trip, incidentally, coincided with the hearing of Jena’s petition in the Supreme Court, which took place on 21 January.
Sources say the state government is desperate to prove it had nothing to do with what Panda did during his Delhi trip and wants to distance itself from his ‘misconduct’.
By all accounts, the Home department and the Crime Branch are all set to order stringent action against him and describe his Delhi trip as ‘personal’ and his ‘misconduct’ as unwarranted action and unbecoming of a senior police officer.
Panda has reportedly been assured of a ‘safe passage after the dust settles’, sources said.