Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, July 30:
Even as Odisha Chief Mminister Naveen Patnaik has maintained an enigmatic silence over the issue, pressure is mounting on Rajya Sabha MP Kalpataru Das from within the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) to return the second house his family has acquired in Bhubaneswar under the discretionary quota to save further embarrassment for the party and its leader.
The issue has assumed enough importance for leaders of the BJD to come out in the open, one after another, mounting pressure on the beleaguered former minister.
While senior BJD leaders Damodar Rout, Maheswar Mohanty and Kalindi Behera have already pooh-poohed Das’ specious claim that he and his son constitute, ‘technically and legally’, two separate families, it was the turn of party chief whip Ananta Das to go public on the issue today.
The senior BJD leader hinted that party supremo Naveen Patnaik is contemplating action against Kalpataru.
“The chief minister is well aware of the development. As you know, he does not tolerate any kind of corruption. He will take appropriate action after examining the law,” Das told media persons here.
Dubbing the definition of ‘family’ given by Kalpataru Das ‘wrong’, Das said, “If he has violated the law, he would return the houses and plots. If not, he would not. Law will take its own course.”
Tourism and Culture Minister Ashok Panda urged Kalpataru not to tarnish the clean image of the party and chief minister Naveen Patnaik.
“He (Kalpataru) should try to keep intact the clean image of Naveen Patnaik and the party. He should not tarnish the image of the party. The chief minister, who always maintains transparency on every issue, would definitely consider the matter and take appropriate action,” said Panda.
BJD MLA Debasish Samantray urged the BJD vice president to return the houses on moral grounds. “Minister Bikram Arukh has already set an example by returning his allocated plot. If Kalpataru Babu has violated the law and taken multiple plots, he should return the plots on moral grounds. Everybody knows that the chief minister would not excuse law breakers; he would definitely take action on the issue,” said Samantray.
Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Srikant Jena has said merely returning the illegally obtained house would not suffice.
“Naveen Babu appears to have written a new CrPC as per which anybody found guilty of having more than one plot under the discretionary quota would just surrender it and evade any kind of action. This is illegal, unethical and attracts criminal offence. Misuse of discretionary quota should be inquired by a judicial commission,” said Jena.