Orissa Assembly Mustn’t be made a Political Junkyard

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

It is not that the Orissa Assembly is so very busy that it has no time for debates on Law Bills and Demands. But it has passed certain Bills and the Demands without the desired debates thereon. The Assembly is reduced to a political junkyard.

This nasty situation could have been avoided had the Government been a bit responsible in its response to the Opposition demand for a just and necessary discussion on chit fund scam that has put around 25% of the State’s population in drastic financial loss and has put the Chief Minister and the ruling party in terrible loss of credibility.

None other than the Government is responsible for the loss of its credibility. When depositors found that they have been cheated by the chit fund swindlers, they knew that they had been tempted to make their trysts with the chit fund operators only because the Government of Naveen Patnaik had appeared as their patron and Sri Patnaik himself also had posed as promoter of the major ones of them like the SeaShore, even after being notified by the appropriate machinery of the Central Government about their dubious conduct. The second most spectacular reason of loss of the Government’s credibility is found in its opposition to CBI investigation into the chit fund felony. Naveen Patnaik’s Government had spent about half a crore of Rupees on lawyers to obstruct the Supreme Court from ordering for CBI enquiry, claiming that neither any minister and/or leader of the ruling party nor any functionary of the Government was involved with the chit funds; whereas the CBI has already put some of the close colleagues of the CM – both political and executive – under the grip of law, for their discernible and/or suspected Role in the chit fund scam.

When this loss of credibility of the Government was posing a threat to mana of democracy,  it was natural for the Opposition to demand a discussion on chit fund in supersession of all other businesses. It should have been the best for the Leader of the House – the Chief Minister himself – to come forward with how the Government looks at the issue, and with the details of the actions taken  by the Government in the matter so far, and proposed action, if any, it wants to take. The Chief Minister should have helped the Assembly with a proper, fair and honest debate that could have helped the affected people to understand where they really stand vis-a-vis the chit fund operators. But, sadly, that never happened. All nasty tricks were used to debar the House from having the accounts of the Government  in the matter. The result has paralyzed the Assembly in matters of accountability of the Government for eleven working days till today, whereas it is increasingly being felt that the ruling party is derailing the House in order only to help the Chief Minister escape public gaze.

Significantly, the Speaker has become a party to subjugation of the Assembly Members’ right to speak in the Assembly on matters of urgent public importance. In respect to desirability of debate on chit fund felony, he wanted advice of the Advocate General in the matter and the AG reportedly advised that, no debate, either through any motion or demand-discussion, should be allowed on chit fund. This has pushed the issue into a turn towards the worse.

In public perception, the Speaker of the Assembly, who owes his berth in the House to the ruling party, and has every reason to stay grateful to the Chief Minister for the position he is holding, has been helping the CM by subjugating the sovereignty of the House to overlordship of the Advocate General who has vested interest in blocking the debate on chit fund. The Leader of the Opposition has condemned the reliance put on the AG, as, before accepting the assignment, he was the advocate of the chit fund set-up SeaShore, which is a major object of CBI investigation.  Inability of the Speaker to remove the blockage on normal proceeding of the House has earned objurgation even from a senior member of the Cabinet Dr. Damodar Raut. Of course, after a day of putting on records his strong disapproval of the Speaker’s action, Raut has taken a U-turn.

In its history, the Orissa Assembly had never fallen in such a situation of abnormality. Nobody knows how its normalcy would be restored unless the government educates itself to be answerable.

Chief Minister’s link with Chit Fund as suggested by a Picture needs CBI Probe

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak


chit fund cheat in naveen camp_photo Sankar Parida

This picture with annotation in Oriya has come to my hand from poet and socio-political activist Shankar Parida. Many of his FaceBook friends might also have got it.

It shows that Chit Fund accused Ranjan was an integral part of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s inner circle, whose prominent presence was a guiding factor behind filing of Naveen Patnaik’s nomination papers for the post of BJD President.

He is seen, stamp in hand, authenticating the nomination.

The picture is self-explanatory and massively suggestive. May the CBI take the cue and zoom in on the Chief Minister, as delay may give him contrive ways to escape.

Former IPS officer and scholar par-excellence Arun Kumar Upadhyay has posted a comment in chit fund related story in ORISSA MATTERS that I am going to quote below:

“Supreme court had given order for CBI investigation when records were produced that Artha-tattva had given 6 free flats to the then Police Commissioner Sri B K Sharma who is now ADGP Crime branch and investigating Chit fund scam. Police Commissioner could not allow this without matching flats to the then DGP Sri M M Prahraj who has got legal impunity like High court judge after retirement as Member of State Administrative Tribunal in ending moments of UPA Govt. But the original cause of CBI inquiry is not being looked into and officers leader combine is trapping only Ashok Mohanty who had taken a single house on payment. Ashok Mohanty also must be aware,but can he tell the secrets? He must be under assurance that matter will be pacified after a short period”.

Mr. Upadhyay’s note is as apposite as pertinent.

Who but the Chief Minister is GodFather of these officers? RTI activist Jayant Kumar Das has sent me chilling details of one of these two officers that makes me infer that the offense attributed to him could not have been carried out or gone unpunished without the blessings of the chief minister on his head.

The CBI is doing discernibly excellent in penetrating into the felony. It must have drawn its roadmap to reach the crux.

But, unless the Chief Minister is immediately brought into investigation, the nexus of the offenders is so unfathomably intricate that where, when and in which layer what evidence shall get lost may be totally impossible to locate.

The Chief Minister may be immediately grilled on his connection with Ranjan.

CBI arrests former Advocate General Asok Mohanty; Investigation urgent into role of Justice Laxmikant Mohapatra

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Amongst all other Orissan Media, ORISSA MATTERS was the first to dissect the intricate connection of Justice Laxmikant Mohapatra and Advocate Asok Mohanty with chit fund mafia Pradeep Sethy. The posting, dated July 22, was captioned:

Judicial Enquiry Essential to determine if Justice Laxmikant Mohapatra did not act a conduit for a chit fund mafia

Neither such emphasis was laid in social media nor in any print media till then. Alok Jena’s case in the Supreme Court was not having this matter in particular at the crux. Jayant Kumar Das’s input pregnant with information obtained under RTI was in disarray. We had to conduct a bit research before preferring the posting. Jayant babu had dug out the core information on which we had to improve upon. The CBI was yet to step in. So, I had, in the July 22 posting, insisted upon Judicial enquiry into role of Justice Mohapatra to find out if being a High Court Judge he had acted a conduit for Pradeep Sethy.

When under orders of the Supreme Court, CBI commenced its investigation, Mohanty quitted the post of Advocate General about two month of exposure in these pages and faced the sleuths the next day.We insisted that he and Justice Mohapatra being two vertices of the same triangle of offense formed with Pradeep Sethy, both should be subjected to investigation at the same time. The article was captioned:

Advocate General quits and faces CBI; Justice Laxmikant Mohapatra be probed now

Now as CBI has officially arrested Mohanty, and Sethy is already in judicial custody, the left out vertex Justice Laxmikant Mohapatra shall have to be probed into. Without this, the probe cannot be completed.

We believe, the CBI must have taken up with the appropriate authorities – the Supreme Court, the President – for necessary clearance to bring Justice Mohapatra to its investigational jurisdiction. Without any prejudice thereto, we may say that it would be better for Justice Mohapatra to voluntarily state if he has not acted a conduit for chit fund cheat Pradeep Sethy.

It is really disgusting to wait for action when a judge is an object of suspicion in a felony of this type.

Advocate General quits and faces CBI; Justice Laxmikant Mohapatra be probed now

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

More heads to roll to save the skin of the Chief Minister. But, all the offenders need be punished.

As on now, Sri Asok Mohanty has quitted the post of Advocate General and has been made to face the ongoing CBI investigations.

He had appeared in these pages for the first time when I had exposed his position in a triangle of land scam where he as well as Justice Laxmikant Mohapatra and the chit fund cheat Pradeep Sethy had formed the vertices.

This exposure was captioned: Judicial Enquiry Essential to determine if Justice Laxmikanta Mohapatra did not act a conduit for a chit fund mafia.

Sri Mohanty is maintaining that he has not benefitted from chit fund fraud; but has purchased the house from the chit fund operator by paying Rs.1.1 crore. I hope, investigation would reveal what happened to State’s dues of Court Fee when his transaction with Pradeep Sethy was complete before “execution of the lease deed” as discussed in this exposure.

Now it is time for the CBI to bring Justice Mohapatra into its investigations. Modus operandi of fraud cannot be fathomed unless Justice Mohapatra is subjected to the ongoing investigation by CBI.

Pradeep Sethy, it seems, was operating from a position bulwarked by jurists, journalists, sleuths and shrewd politicians.

When some of the ruling party heavyweights such as Pravat Tripathy known for being very close to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik are under CBI scanner in course of investigation into Sethy’s offenses, our breaking observation in ORISSA MATTERS has brought to focus why should a former director of CBI Sri Uma Shankar Mishra be investigated into by the CBI over his connection with a declared beneficiary of Sethy’s chit fund frauds.

We have already discussed Justice Laxmikant Mohapatra of Orissa High Court as he then was and Asok Mohanty in his avatar of Advocate General of Orissa in matter of their dubious business with Sethy in these pages.

Now when we look at his connection with Press, we shudder, as we find Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in official patronage to an organization purportedly of media persons, styled as ‘The Press Club of Odisha’ under the banner of which beneficiaries of forgery and chit fund fraud pose as epitomes of Press.

When the founder of this Press Club, Madhu Sudan Mohanty has been repeatedly grilled by CBI in matter of Chit fund fraud, the Chief Minister is aware of the fact that a chairman of this club Deepak Malaviya is a beneficiary of the forgery on Gopabandhu’s Will.

Knowing that Malavya is one of the persons who use a forged Will of Pt. Gopabandhu in keeping the daily Samaja under illicit occupation, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has given the Club a big government bungalow by sheer misuse of his prerogative under his influence. The CMO finding its refuge in the pages of the Samaja in matter of public grievance to hoodwink the people when the CM never attends his ‘grievance-cell’ , is of tremendous significance in the present context.

Both Malavya and Mohanty were marked as the most active elements in foundation of the said Press Club, which deserves investigation into whether or not, under the smoke screen of the Press Club of Odisha, chit fund swindler Pradeep Sethy had been safeguarding his empire by using the Press from the smaller daily Odisha Bhaskara to major daily ‘The Samaja’, ‘birds of the same feathers fly together’ being the axiom.

The issue is most intricate. In no other instance of offense, so far in Orissa, entanglement was so pervasive from politicians in power to Press under fraudsters and from directors of CBI to top jurists in the Bench and the Bar.

So, the investigating agency shall have to act with diligence and determination.

The era of loot shall have to end.