Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 18:
A day after dropping a bombshell about a BJD Cabinet Minister (meaning Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister Sanjay Das Burma) having been gifted with a Mitshubishi Pajero SUV by Pradeep Sethi, chief of Artha Tatwa (AT) Group, a major player in the multi-thousand crore chit fund scam in Odisha, senior Congress leader Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra (Lulu) today came up with more facts about the said vehicle.
“The Pajero’s colour was green and its registration number was OR-29-0001. The vehicle was issued with a vehicle entry pass for state secretariat. It too had a red beacon and was used by a corporation chairperson from 2007-2009. The government should now reply who was using the vehicle,” said Mohapatra talking to reporters here today.
Earlier in the day, Pradeep Sethi during a routine appearance at the Special CBI Court here today told the media that AT Group had lent some of its vehicles to some political leaders during elections.
“Whatever statements I have made have been submitted by the CBI through affidavits in the High Court. On the basis of that they are saying this. But I would like to say one thing issue should be made on the basis of any false allegation. There is no need to give it a political colour. Often to cover up some major issue AT Group’s name is dragged into to create political issue out of it. We have not given any vehicle as gift to anyone. Our vehicles might have been used but we have not given any vehicle as gift. That is not part of the investigations. I don’t think there is anything wrong in lending vehicles for campaigning. The mention of few vehicles being given to some people in the affidavit is true. I cannot say who has been given vehicles or who has given vehicles since AT Group had 51 directors. In my knowledge nothing like that has taken place. The CBI has submitted its affidavit and it will be out during trial. Whatever statements I have made to the CBI, ED, police and other investigating agencies is true. Since the matter is sub judice I do not want to make any statements. I would only request that based on false report the matter should not be politicized.
Notably, Mohapatra at a press conference here yesterday had claimed that in an affidavit submitted by the CBI before the Orissa High Court, the central investigation agency had stated that a Pajero purchased by AT Group chief Pradeep Sethi using company funds was with one Sanjay Das Burma. Mohapatra asked who that Sanjay Das Burma was and why action has not been taken against him. We had reported here.