Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Nov 24:
Former Odisha Minister and senior Congress leader Niranjan Patnaik today condemned BJD’s threat to take to the streets against the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) over the multi-crore Chit fund scam in the state terming it ‘blackmail’.
“The BJD is trying to blackmail the CBI to protect its high and mighty,” Patnaik said hoping that the central agency would not come under pressure. “I am sure the people of Odisha will reject such political strategy intended to put undue pressure on the investigating agency and interfere in the legal process,”he added.
CBI is investigating the Odisha chit fund cases under the direction of the Supreme Court and any threat to the CBI is undue pressure and a clear violation of the solemn commitment given by the state government to fully cooperate with the investigating agency, Patnaik said in a statement.
If the BJD politicizes the investigation to shelter their own leaders and takes to the street, the Congress, which has avoided any such political tactic, will respond in a befitting manner by launching street protests all over the state demanding immediate arrest of all persons accused of the scam, he warned.
“The Congress Party may also consider taking up the matter appropriately before the Supreme Court since the investigation is court monitored and its is the abundant duty of the apex court to insulate the C.B.I. from all such extraneous pressures and interference,” he said.
“When Prabhat Tripathy, Rama Chandra Hansda, Subarna Naik and other BJD leaders were arrested by the CBI in connection with the chit fund scam the Chief Minister had claimed that it was their private business and neither BJD nor the state government had anything to do with it. But, no sooner the C.B.I. commenced interrogating Saroj Sahu, a prominent member of Nabeen’s kitchen cabinet, the party has done a volte face accusing the investigation of political vendetta. What accounts for the overnight change of stance? What has made the BJD so edgy at the mere apprehension of an interrogation of people close to the Chief Minister?” the senior Congress leader asked.
Chit fund companies flourished in the state for almost a decade because of acts of omission and commission of the state government and the companies were given public credibility by BJD leaders, Patnaik said. “The Chief Minister ignored the directive of the Central Government and attended the function of one of the prominent companies and the Government entered into several MOUs with the Company. Now that truth has been unraveled, law must take its own course,” he added.
“Never before in the history of Odisha had a serving Chief Minister come under the cloud of CBI investigation. But, if the CBI is now knocking at the doors of Naveen Niwas, the Chief Minister should take the moral high ground and resign to make way for his party to elect a new leader till the doubts over his roles are cleared,” Patnaik advised.