Odisha Sun Times Bureau:
Bhubaneswar, Dec 26:
Saroj Sahu, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s all powerful political aide, who had been banished from Naveen Nivas after being questioned by the CBI for his alleged role in the chit fund scam, has quietly re-entered the CM’s residence.
The BJD supremo’s Man Friday is back to doing what he does best; managing both the political and official business of his boss, reliable sources say. The only difference now is he is keeping a low profile. Wary of inviting unwanted attention, the master too is taking care not to make things too obvious. “Saroj ko de do” (“Give it to Saroj”), “Saroj se le lo” (“Take it from Saroj”), terms that were frequently heard forn the Chief Minister earlier are not heard these days, regular visitors to Naveen Nivas say on condition of anonymity. Visitors to Naveen Nivas too are keeping at a distance from him for fear of coming under the CBI spotlight.
It is reliably learnt that Naveen chose to lift the ban on Sahu’s entry to his residence after being persuaded by advisors that he could spill the beans and cause more embarassment for both the party and its supremo if not rehabilitated.
Naveen’s Man Friday had hogged the limelight for all the wrong reasons after CBI called him for questioning for alleged links with ponzi firm Seashore CMD Prashant Dash. The central investigating agency had established definite links with the tainted firms head. Call records had proved that Sahu was in close and frequent touch with the tainted chit fund operator.
After coming back from a two-hour long interrogation at the hands of CBI sleuths on November 22, Sahu had the mortifcation of finding the doors of Naveen Nivas shut on him. The master of the housed had given expres orders not to allow him in, he was told by those manning the gate.
Sahu’s surreptitious re-entry, however, has raised many eyebrows in party circles. Though it is a norm in the party to gulp the bitter pill without raising one’s voice, Sahu’s induction has been a quiet affair just as his expulsion was. .
Till the CBI interrogated Sahu, the Chief Minister had reposed so much faith in Sahu that he used to refer any party matter to him. The BJD supremo had even entrusted him to look after party funds. Such was his clout that even senior bureaucrats used to request him to fix an appointment with the Chief Minister.
Like a typical rags-to-riches story, Sahu rode the success ladder from being a mere typist running his fingers on a Remington at a shop in Bapuji Nagar to the corridors of power. Sahu, a native of Khandapada in Nayagarh district was appointed a typist with a paltry salary at the BJD head office after the party was formed in 1998.
It was in the year 2000 that Sahu came closer to Naveen after he became the Chief Minister. Soon, he was relieved of his typing responsibilities and was entrusted with looking after the day-to-day affairs of the Chief Minister.
With his fast growing clout, Sahu had expectedly become an eyesore for some senior BJD leaders. Though these leaders had no guts to take him on, they had taken strong exception to the Chief Minister reposing so much faith and trust in him in handling the party affairs even though he hardly knew anything about politics.
This lowly typist reportedly has purchased a two-storey building near the posh Airport area of the capital city at a cost of about Rs 55 lakh. In addition to this, he has two other houses in the city, sources revealed.