Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Dec 19:
The BJP today pooh-poohed the Odisha government’s decision to cancel all allotments of land, houses and flats under the discretionaty quota (DQ) since January 1, 1995 saying it was a decision taken ‘in haste’ and intended to hoodwink the people of the state.
“The government has taken no decision on the land scam in Odisha, which is bigger than just land allotted through the discretionary quota. Never before had a land scam of such dimensions taken place in Odisha,” Mohapatra said addressing a press conference at the party office here today.
Mohapatra said the state government’s decsion was taken ‘in haste’ as it was scared of the BJP’s national president’s visit to the state on January 5 and 6.
“I feel the government is terribly scared of the forthcoming visit of the BJP’s national president to the state and the party’s programmes. It is a decision taken in haste,” Mohapatra said.
The senior BJP leader said even cabinet ministers did not know what they had really approved.“It’s strange. The report was never discussed by the cabinet ministers. The cabinet memorandum is highly confusing,” he said.
Mohapatra asserted that the decision was taken to hoodwink the people and would not stand scrutiny in a court of law.
“The government has neither studied the Supreme Court decision in the Satish Sharma case or the decision of the Odisha High Court in a similar case. I have absolutely no doubt that the decision taken by the cabinet is not going to stand the scrutiny of the court. In other words, the government of Odisha has taken yet another illegal decision,” he said.
Mohapatra said the Chief Minister of Odisha had caused ‘untold and intolerable harm’ to the people of Odisha as well as the state government by not making a statement on the issue.
“Neither the state government nor the Chief Minister has made any statement on the issue in the last 4 to 5 months. The statements that others have made were essentially an attempt to protect themselves and cannot be taken as the statement of the government,” he pointed out.
The Chief Minister had no guts to make public the report given by the Task Force headed by Taradutt, Mohapatra thundered.
“The Taradutt Committee was formed by the government to inquire into the irregularities. But the report was not made public. The right course would have been to lodge FIRs against those who are at fault based on the report. But instead of doing that, the government has said that the vigilance will be conducting an inquiry into the matter. Where is the need for another inquiry when it has already been inquired by the Task Force?” he asked.
“We know what is the fate of inquiries entrusted to the Vigilance,” he added.
The BJD has predictably slammed Mohapatra’s statement. “It is not for Mr. Bijoy Mohapatra to decide whether the decision would stand the scrutiny of the court or not. It is the court which would take a call on that. Besides, since he is not a member of the cabinet, how does he know what transpired at the cabinet meeting yesterday?” BJD spokesperson Pratap Keshari Deb said in his response.
BJP must must first clarify its stand on the involvement of two of its own members, Samir Dey and Kanak Vardhan Singhdeo, who allotted land and houses tomany people under the discretionary quota when they were Urban Development minister, another BJD spokesperson Samir Ranjan Dash said.