Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Sep 18:
With the BJD government in Odisha trying to wash its hand of party leaders in the chit fund scam being inquired by CBI, senior Congress leader and former PCC president Niranjan Patnaik today said the government and the chief minister had a quid pro quo with the chit fund companies to loot the public money.
“After the CBI exposed the nexus of ruling party leaders in the chit fund scam, the spokespersons of the party are stating that the party and the government have nothing to do with the individuals involved in the scam. I just want to know who signed MoUs with the Seashore company? Are they individuals or the government? Then who is responsible for the scam?” asked Patnaik addressing a press conference here.
Informing that all the MoUs signed with the tainted company have been endorsed by the ministers and departmental officials, including secretaries, he said the government neither followed the rules nor verified the credentials of the company before allowing it to flourish under the patronage of ruling party politicians.
He said that while the Money Laundering Act, 2002 clearly states that whoever assists a company or a person to use black money in business is also responsible for the act, he said the government had indulged in corrupt practices by inking agreements with Seashore company.
He said the chief minister and several ministers had sent best wishes messages to Ranjan Das, who is in CBI remand, while he started a chit fund company.
Shifting his focus to the land scam at Ghangapatna village and allocations under the discretionary quota, he demanded a CBI inquiry into the Ghangapatna land scam.
“The Panchayati Raj department has allocated funds for construction of road on forest land. Since there are many influential persons involved, the government has directed the Crime Branch to inquire. But the CB cannot conduct an impartial inquiry. It should be handed over to the CBI to unearth the truth,” said Patnaik.
Dwelling on the DQ scam, Patnaik said the government was trying to bury the matter by handing over the case to a task force. “The government had full knowledge of the scam since 2010 when the AG started inquiring into it. But, it remained silent instead of cancelling the allotments. Who is the government trying to fool?” asked the senior Congress leader.
Speaking on the Nayagarh incident, he said the government had failed to maintain law and order in the district as the police had been engaged for political work. “The police are yet to nab the culprits behind the murder of four members of a family. The police firing could have been easily avoided at that place. But, the government allowed it. Instead of engaging the CB in the land scam, the government should direct the investigating agency to maintain law and order situation,” said the former PCC president.
He also demanded a CBI inquiry into the mining scam, a demand that the government had been opposing tooth and nail.