Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 29:
A sting operation has manufactured enough soot to put blot on the hitherto clean image of Naveen Patnaik as as many as four of its legislators were caught on tape demanding bribe for facilitating setting up of industries in their respective constituencies.
The four BJD MLAs— Susant Kumar Behera (Chhendipada), Seemarani Nayak (Hindol), Anam Nayak (Bhawanipatna) and Bijay Kumar Nayak (Karanjia)—fell to the bait of ‘Operation Blackspot’ conducted by a portal recently.
Leading regional news channel Kanak News aired the covert operation today where the people’s representatives were striking the deals.
Hindol MLA Seemarani Nayak has been exposed in the video who is asking for a bribe of Rs 40 crore to help obtain No Objection Certificate (NOC) for an industry interested to set up a textile mill in Dhenkanal district. The woman representative asked the undercover agent to pay the bribe in two equal installments. She says “Forty main round up kar dijiye” while the negotiator presses for Rs 37 crore.
“I asked them to pay Rs 40 crore jokingly as they said that another MLA had demanded Rs 30 crore for it,” Seemarani Nayak claimed in her response to the sting operation.
Similarly, the Chhendipada MLA Susant Kumar Behera was seen demanding Rs 8 crore to help setting up of a power plant at Angul.
“I will take care of the issues starting from buying land to setting up of the power plant,” Sushant Kumar Behera said.
When Behera was contacted for his reply, he chose not to clear the air on it and later switched off his mobile phone.
Similarly, Karanjia legislator Bijay Kumar Nayak demanded Rs 5 crore for facilitating in bringing up a power unit in his constituency. Nayak was seen insisting against any negotiation for the power plant in Karanjia.
The first time MLA from Bhawanipatna Anam Nayak also fell into the operation as he too was seen demanded money for facilitating setting up of a power plant in his constituency in Kalahandi district, infamous for hunger deaths and now for Dana Majhi incident.
The political newbie, however, denied the allegations saying: “How can I strike a deal when there is no power plant in our district? It is a conspiracy to blackmail me.”
“If the allegations turn out to be credible, then stringent action will be initiated against the guilty,” BJD spokesperson Sashi Bhusan Behera said.
Recently, the state government has been able to attract over Rs 90, 000 crore investment proposals at Bengaluru investors’ meet and aims to set up over 1,000 start ups in the next five years. Besides, it intends to be in the top three start up hubs by 2020.
Industry analysts apprehend that the sting operation might hurt the investors’ sentiment and act as a disincentive for the prospective investors.