Kolkata/Bhubaneswar, Dec 13:
Do BJD leaders have anything to do with a criminal turned politician who was arrested by the Kolkata police recently from Athgarh ? This is now a subject of hot discussions in political circles.
The fact that the BJD sarpanch of Khuntakata panchayat under Athgarh block in Cuttack district was picked up by a police team from Kolkata for being a wanted criminal on the run, has put the local BJD leadership in an embarrassing situation.
The arrested sarpanch Rajesh Naik, according to Kolkata police, was a wanted person who runs a criminal network in Kolkata and us involved in a number of serious crimes
Some senior BJD leaders who had campaigned for Naik in the last Assembly and panchayat elections, however, have denied any personal links or relationship with Naik.
Naik was perceived to have been a close associate of the Athgarh BJD MLA Ranendra Pratap Swain and was seen in his company at several political meetings and other functions.
The duo was seen together on the podium during an award-giving ceremony of a football match at Khuntakata in December 2012.
When contacted, Swain said he was unaware of the criminal antecedents of Naik and treated him on par with other party colleagues. He also denied having any kind of personal links with him.