Bhubaneswar: Demanding resignation of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and his inclusion in the purview of CBI probe into chitfund scam, Congress workers on Saturday launched an agitation by holding demonstrations and rallies in the state.
Congress workers staged demonstrations in district headquarter towns asking the chief minister to step down and face investigation in the multi-crore ponzi scam.
The demonstration in Bhubaneswar was led by Pradesh Congress Committee president Jaydev Jena who said CBI should interrogate the chief minister in connection with the chitfund scam in view of the arrest of several ruling BJD leaders including an MP and MLA in the scam.
While the state government had earlier spent huge money in opposing a CBI probe into chitfund scam, the investigation being conducted by the central agency following Supreme Court direction had now exposed involvement of several leaders of the ruling BJD, he said.
The demonstrators went in a rally to the office of the additional district magistrate and gave a memorandum listing several demands including refund of money to the people who had invested in tainted chitfund companies.
"CBI should initiate probe against the chief minister, interrogate him and slap cases as per law as the central agency has sufficient information about Patnaik's possible involvement in chitfund activities," said Jena and Narasingha Mishra, who is leader of opposition in state Assembly
The PCC chief said Patnaik's close aide and ruling BJD's office secretary Saroj Sahoo was interrogated in the matter by the CBI recently, taking the probe right into Naveen Niwas, the chief minister's residence.
Moreover, despite central government's warning the chief minister had not only allowed tie-up with a chitfund firm but also attended its function, Congress leaders alleged.
Demanding concrete steps by the state government for refund of money to the poor investors, they said assets of the ponzi companies should be confiscated.
Recalling that the Chief Minister had removed several ministers who came under shadow of corruption in the past, Mishra and other Congress leaders said now Patnaik should apply the same principle in his own case and step down in order to pave way for a fair probe.
Similar demonstrations were held by the party workers in different district headquarter towns in support of their demands, state party spokesman LB Mohapatra said in a statement.