Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Nov 12:
Media persons in this pilgrim town of Odisha were up in arms after currency notes worth Rs 200 were found in the kit given to them during a press conference addressed by Puri Lok Sabha MP Pinaki Misra here today.
Enraged media persons placed the currency notes on the dais and left the press conference midway after finding money in their kits.
Later, they lodged an FIR against the Puri MP at the Sea Beach police station. But no action had been taken on it till reports last came in. “We are waiting for a direction from the SP in this regard,” a police officer said requesting anonymity.
Misra, who was addressing the presser as the chairperson of the Parliamentary standing committee on Urban Development, however, feigned ignorance about how the currency notes got into the folders given to media persons and sought to lay the blame on authorities of UCO Bank, who had organised the event.
“I will talk to the bank authorities and ask for the strongest possible action against whosoever has done it. Heads must roll for this attempt to lower the dignity of the fourth estate,” he said condemning the incident.
Misra and Puri MLA Maheswar Mohanty were seen pleading with the media persons not to leave, but the latter would have none of it.
All political parties, including the ruling BJD, have condemned the act and have demanded action against the culprits. But while the opposition parties sought to blame the BJD for the attempt to ‘bribe’ the journalists, the BJD restricted itself to just condemning the act.
“The incident is entirely in tune with the political culture of the ruling party, which has sought to use money power in everything it does,” said Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra.
Senior BJP leader Suresh Pujari said it was a brazen attempt to curry favour with the fourth estate while demanding action against the culprits.
BJD spokesperson Samir Dash, however, sought to absolve his party of wrong doing and called for a thorough investigation to fix responsibility for the act.