Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 30:
A day after the arrest of notorious criminal brothers—Sushil Dhal Samant and his brother Sushant—from the Odisha capital, photographs of leaders across party lines sharing platform with the duo has created a whirlwind in the political circles.
In photographs published in media, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan, BJP leader Sameer Dey, Congress leader and former Kalahandi MP Bhakta Charan Das, former Brahmagiri MLA Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra, Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) vice president Suresh Mohapatra, BJD Cuttack-Barabati MLA Debasish Samantaray, Tirtol MLA Rajashree Mallick, BJD MLA Pramod Kumar Mallick and others were seen with Sushil Dhal Samant on various occasions.
The arrest of the Dhal Samant brothers for their alleged involvement in tender fixing and extortion has put the leaders on a sticky wicket.
“I had participated in a blood donation programme. Law is equall for fall. The veracity of the allegations would come out after investigation,” Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan said in his clarification today.
“If a politician is associated with a criminal and has committed a crime in connivance with him, then it is an offence. As far as my knowledge goes, I have not done any such thing. Moreover, one cannot be branded as a criminal till he is convicted in court,” Pradhan added.
On the other hand, fireband Congress leader Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra has defended the Dal Samant brothers.
“Sushil is one of my distant relatives. No case is registered against Sushil. There is a deep conspiracy behind his arrest,” alleged Mohapatra.
Similarly, the ruling Biju Janata Dal has hinted at initiating action against its leaders if found any link with the accused duo.
“It is condemnable to share dais with persons with criminal antecedents. The allegations will be probed and chief minister would initiate action against them,” BJD spokesperson Samir Ranjan Dash stressed.