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Whistleblower’s persistence pays off

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OST Bureau

Bhubaneswar, Oct 25:

If the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is now probing the role of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in the allocation of the Talabira II and III coal blocks in Odisha to Aditya Birla group company Hindalco, part of the credit for it should go to trade union leader Dwarika Mohan Mishra, who alerted the agency about what he calls ‘a colossal criminal conspiracy’ to conduct a massive and naked ‘national loot’ as early as June this year.

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On June 10 this year, the man who has been the tormentor-in-chief for political bigwigs in the state, including former Chief Minister JB Patnaik, had dashed off a letter to CBI Director Ranjit Sinha giving a wealth of information about Naveen’s largesse to the Aditya Birla group and Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) and asking for a ‘serious’ investigation into the patronage extended by the Chief Minister to these two corporate majors.

The June 10 letter was actually a reminder served by Mishra to an earlier letter he wrote to the CBI chief giving details of the lease granted to Birla and Jindal through the ‘specific recommendation of Chief Minister of Odisha and the officials’ and the alleged quid pro quo for such recommendation.

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Asking for an inquiry into the reason for the Aditya Birla group paying Rs 7.5 crore to the election fund of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) headed by Naveen Patnaik, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) member impressed upon the CBI director the need for an FIR to be lodged against the alleged culprits.

After the CBI failed to take action on his letter, Mishra shot off a letter to the Chief Justice of India placing the facts of the case on record and pleading for a directive to the CBI to inquire into the matter.

Though the CBI is yet to zero in on Naveen Patnaik and concerned officials of the time, a team from the agency has already met Mishra and recorded his statement. It collected further information on the alleged violation of rules and dubious patronage.

The whistleblower is hopeful that Naveen Patnaik would be nailed in the end. “Since the Supreme Court is monitoring the probe into coal scam, I am sure Naveen will not be spared,” he told OST.

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