Pyari accuses Naveen of shielding politicians in mining scam
Bhubaneswar: Suspended rebel BJD leader and MP Pyari Mohan Mohapatra on Monday accused Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik of shielding politicians involved in the mining scam though he (Naveen) was not personally involved in any scam.
"The Chief Minister did not allow state vigilance to begin persecution against certain politicians allegedly involved in mining scam. I had requested the chief minister several times to allow the vigilance to do its work. But he did not clear the file," Mohapatra told reporters.
Stating that the then director of vigilance wing had informed him that the chief minister was sitting over the file, Mohapatra said Patnaik feared that some of his ministers or partymen might be involved in the mining scam.
The dissident leader dared the chief minister to order a CBI probe into all corruption charges against him, Mohapatra said rejecting initiation of vigilance case against him. "I reject vigilance probe as the allegations against me have been made by some MLAs from Naveen Niwas. Therefore, Naveen is one of the accusers," he said.
Giving clean chit to the chief minister, Mohapatra who was suspended from the party after being accused of leading a coup against the BJD government, said "Patnaik has no involvement either in the mining scam or in dal scam. There have been certain major irregularities in mining sector."
To a query, Mohapatra ruled out resigning as Rajya Sabha member following his suspension from the ruling BJD.
Asked whether he would join any other political party or form a separate party, Mohapatra said, "technically I am in BJD. Why should I quit my house? I have not yet received any suspension notice from the party president."
Mohapatra also said that he did not accept the oral announcement regarding his suspension from the party by the Chief Minister at the state secretariat.
"I am not a government servant whose suspension would be announced at the secretariat," he said, adding that he would have accepted the oral order had it been made either at the Naveen Niwas or at the party's headquarters.
Rejecting the allegation that he was making a bid to replace Patnaik, the Rajya Sabha MP said that meeting with party MLAs was not a crime.
"Earlier, he (Naveen) used to ask the MLAs to meet me at my residence. Now he is targeting MLAs and ministers who met me at my house," Mohapatra said.
He also criticised the Chief Minister accusing him of being unfair to the people at large as he did not attend the grievance cell for last three years.
"The grievance cell of the chief minister has now virtually become a post office," he said.
Asked whether the Naveen Patnaik government was transparent, Mohapatra said, "no government in the country is transparent."
Rejecting Mohapatra's statement on the chief minister, BJD Vice-President Damodar Rout asked why the Rajya Sabha MP was silent till he was suspended from the party.
"Mohapatra's allegations were out of frustration and totally baseless," Rout said.