Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Nov 1:
The BJD is a divided house over the suspension of party’s senior leader and sitting MLA from Banki Pravat Tripathy following his arrest by the CBI yesterday for his alleged links with the Artha Tatwa (AT) Group, a major player in the multi-thousand crore chit fund scam in Odisha.
Senior BJD leader and MP from Cuttack Lok Sabha seat Bhartruhari Mahtab has openly come out in defence of the tainted leader and called his suspension from the party as ‘unjustified’ while pointing a finger at the CBI.
“Pravat Babu has done a lot for our party as well for the state. I fail to understand what happened in the last three days that warranted his arrest by the CBI. During the hearing on his anticipatory bail in the High Court, the CBI had said that they have nothing against him, but only wanted to interrogate him,” said Mahtab.
On being asked about Tripathy’s suspension from the party, he said; “All I can say is that it was not justified”.
Reacting to Mahatab’s statement to the media on Tripathy’s suspension, party spokesman Samir Dash said; “That is Bhartruhari Babu’s personal opinion. The party has nothing to do with it. We all hope that Pravat Babu comes out clean since he has been denying of his involvement. He has been a front ranking leader of the party and has done a lot for the party. Leave the CBI, even the High Court felt that there was prima facie evidence against him. The decision was taken by the party president. He had no other way but to suspend him from the party.”
Dash queried what other option did the party president, whom the people of the state love for his clean image, have other than suspending him from the party in view of the opinion of the High Court?
Senior BJD leaders and ministers Debi Prasad Mishra and Damodar Rout had yesterday said the arrest of Tripathy would not have any adverse impact on the party. Mishra had described the arrest as unfortunate, Rout had said that there are no serious charges against Tripathy.
Senior BJD leader Sashibhusan Behera had said after Tripathy’s arrest yesterday: “He (Pravat) is solely responsible for his own misdeeds. The party has nothing to do with him. It would not tarnish the image of party and its leader Naveen Patnaik in any way.”