Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 12:
While the Odisha Crime Branch has been making a series of breakthrough in the Sarathi Baba case, the shocking revelation about the links of the controversial godman with the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has created ripples in political circles.
Briefing the media on Tuesday, Aul Congress MLA Debendra Sharma said the former Kendrapara MLA Utkal Keshari Parida had donated Rs 40,000 to Sarathi Samiti at Kharda Sahi in Chandol block in 2004-05.
Besides, BJD MLA of Mahakalpada and Health and Family Welfare minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak had also provided Rs 30,000 to Sarathi Community Centre on June 20, 2008, he added.
“Apart from these two BJD leaders, former BJD minister Pratap Deb had also provided Rs 15 lakh to the Sarathi Ashram in three phases while Patkura MLA Bed Prakash Agrawal had provided Rs 40,000 to Sarathi Samiti at Chandol in February, 2014. Besides, it is not known as to who had sanctioned Rs one lakh from the Special Problem Fund to Sarathi Ashram on October 16, 2011,” Sharma informed.
While admitting that he had indeed sanctioned money from his MLALAD fund for a community centre named after Sarathi Baba, former minister Pratap Deb sought to jutify his act arguing it was done as per the wishes of the people.
Patkura MLA and senior BJD leader Bed Prakash Agarwal advanced the same argument to explain away santioning Rs 40, 000 from his MLALAD fund for an approach road to the Baba’s ashram in Chandol.
While admitting that some BJD leaders may have had links with the controversial Baba, Kendrapra MLA Kishor Tarai sought to drag the Congress and BJP into the picture saying the leaders of these two parties too had close ties with the self-styled godman.