Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Oct 15:
If its latest moves are anything to go by, the Naveen Patnaik government appears desperate to ensure the former Odisha DGP Prakash Mishra is out of contention for the post of CBI director.
According to reliable sources, after slapping an FIR against the former Odisha top cop through the Vigilance department, the chief minister’s office (CMO) has asked the state Home department to initiate two official proceedings against ‘irregularities’ allegedly committed by Mishra between 2005 and 2009. The desperate move was initiated after the former DGP chose to file a petition in the High Court seeking to quash the FIR on grounds that it reeks of mala fide and vendetta.
The Odisha High Court, which has taken up Mishra’s petition, has already restrained the state government from taking any ‘coercive action’ against the senior police officer, who is presently posted as the special secretary, Internal Security, Government of India.
Sources said apart from the fact that both the proceedings being planned against Mishra are largely frivolous in nature, it is not clear why such old cases had to be excavated now unless it was driven by mala fide .
“The idea is not to prove the charges but to throw a spanner in the works as it were. The ruling elite in the state is jittery over the possibility of Prakash Mishra becoming the CBI director. Why should a clean and transparent government lose its sleep over Mishra occupying that post unless it has too many skeletons in its cupboard to hide,” asked a retired Odisha cadre IPS officer.
The sources said, worried over the possibility that the Vigilance FIR filed against Mishra may boomerang, a team of officers is working overtime to prepare other grounds for cases against Mishra.
What has peeved the Naveen government the most is that all its moves against Prakash Mishra since May this year have met with widespread disapproval and condemnation. Even many within the ruling party and the state bureaucracy have found the campaign against the former DGP mean and petty.
‘The government has already burnt its fingers by targeting an honest police officer and any further attempts to hound him will not only be counter-productive, but expose its rank meanness,” said a retired senior bureaucrat.
The Odisha High Court will hear Prakash Mishra’s petition challenging the FIR filed against him by the state Vigilance department on October 29. However, instead of waiting for the court’s adjudication in the matter, the state government appears to be in a hurry to bring in new charges against the former DGP with the sole purpose of spoiling his prospects as a major contender for the post of CBI director, the former bureaucrat said.