Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Mar 4:
Senior BJD leaders Pravat Tripathy, walked out of the Jharpada jail here this evening to a tumultuous welcome by his supporters after more than four months of incarceration in connection with the mega chit fund scam in Odisha.
The Banki MLA, arrested by the CBI on October 31 last year for his role in the Artha Tatwa (AT) case, had been granted conditional bail by the Odisha High Court yesterday. He had earlier been denied anticipatory bail by the High Court and regular bail by the CBI and district courts here.
Cries of “Pravat Tripathy Zindabaad’ rent the air as ecstatic supporters broke into an impromptus dance to the accompaniment of drums beats, burst crackers and stuffed sweets into each other’s mouths as Tripathy emerged out of the main gate of the jail with folded hands.
The Banki strongman was then taken in a procession an open jeep with his supporters following him on bikes. Tripathy kept waving to supporters every now and then.
In his brief reaction on his release, Tripathy said he had full faith in the judicial process. “It would not be proper on my part to say anything on the case against me since the matter in sub judice. But I would certainly say that very soon, it will be ‘doodh ka doodh, paani ka paani‘ (Everything will become clear),” he said.
He was taken to Banki where he would first have a darshan at the temple of Maa Churchika, the presiding deity of Banki, before being taken to his home.
Tripathy was freed from the jail after his counsel presented the documents related to the bail granted to him by the High Court yesterday to the jail authorities today.
The court had granted him conditional bail on a bail bond of Rs 10 lakh and asked him to surrender his passport.
In its order granting bail to Tripathy, the court had asked him to cooperate with the CBI in its investigation. It also said it had taken note of the forensic report on his taped conversation with Artha Tatwa (AT) group chief Pradeep Sethy.
The court had reserved its verdict on Tripathy’s bail petition after hearing the arguments from both sides on February 24.
The counsel for the Banki MLA had argued that there was no justification for keeping him in jail any longer since the CBI had already filed the charge sheet in the AT group case in which he has been charged.
The CBI counsel, on the other hand, had opposed Tripathy’s bail plea arguing that he could influence witnesses if let out since he is a powerful person. Though a preliminary charge sheet had been filed in the AT group case, the investigation into the case was still open, he had said.
The CBI which filed a preliminary charge sheet in the Artha Tatwa (AT) group case on December 11 last year had accused four-time Banki MLA and former president of the Odisha State Cooperative Union, with receiving Rs 42 lakh from the tainted company in return for the patronage extended to it.
Tripathy, in the capacity of president of Odisha Cooperative Union from 2008 to 2011, had used his clout over the Assistant Registrar of Cooperative Societies to register the cooperative society ‘Artha Tatwa Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society Limited’ at short notice, the charge sheet said.
This apart, Tripathy, whose name figures neither in the list of directors nor in the list of employees, had asked Sethy to finance Banki Mahotsav, a local festival.