Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Nov 23:
Branding Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik as the ‘mastermind’ of the mega chit fund scam in Odisha, Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra, today demanded that the CBI should probe his role in the scam.
Briefing newsmen at his official residence here this afternoon, Mishra demanded the immediate resignation of Patnaik from the post of Chief Minister.
He said there is plenty of evidence available, which raises a strong suspicion about the involvement of the Chief Minister in the multi-thousand crore chit fund scam in the state, currently being probed by the CBI.
“One such evdence is the Odisha Self Help Cooperative Act, 2001. It was a product of conspiracy to loot the people of Odisha. After enactment
of this law, there have been several instances of public money being looted. The issue was repeatedly raised on the floor of the legislative assembly between 2004 to 2009. CAG has also questioned the Act it in its report placed on the floor of the House, but in vain,” he said.
No less than a cabinet colleague of the Chief Minister has admitted that the massive fraud was going on under the active patronage of the state government, Mishra pointed out. “In spite of a letter from the Central Government in 2011 asking the state government to be wary of the activities of the chit fund companies and raising a finger against their integrity, no action was taken for one year till a reminder was dispatched from the Centre,” he said.
And even after the reminder was received, all that the state government did was some paper work. “Every letter addressed to the Chief Secretary by the Centre was placed before the CM. And what did the CM do for one year? It means the CM was aware of all the facts and was not willing to take any action against the guilty because he himself was involved in this corruption,” he alleged.
The Leader of Opposition said there is enough circumstantial evidence, the latest of them being the interrogation of Saroj Sahu, the ‘authorized signatory’ of the CM by the CBI yesterday, to warrant an investigation against the CM.
“Sahu was signing all important letters – both political and official – on behalf of the CM. It means he was acting on behalf of the CM. Therefore, it is high time, before the material evidence is destroyed, the CBI interrogates the CM and proceeds against him according to the law,” said the former Law Minister.
“We also demand that the CM should immediately resign in the interest of a fair investigation because he himself used to say any of his cabinet colleagues under the cloud of corruption would be sacked. Now let him apply his principle on himself. He is already under the cloud of corruption. He should step down from his post to prove that he believes in what he says,” he said.
Mishra said ruling party members had been asked to discuss a motion on the chit fund scam without any disturbance at the all party meeting held yesterday. “They have agreed to our proposal. If the ruling BJD MLAs fails to honour their word in the House on Monday, the opposition will give an appropriate reply to it,” he warned.