Chief Minister Injures Ligament on Right Leg: Is Exposed Land Scam Too Worrisome to Keep Him Stable?

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is not coming to his chamber in the State Secretariat since 17 November and Officers have been taking urgent files to his residence, because he has severely injured his right leg ligament by falling down while taking a regular walking exercise in the campus of his residence.

To have such an injury by falling down while walking where one is not well acquainted with the place, is not unusual. But a physically and mentally fit person’s fall in his own residence campus where he performs the walking exercise habitually everyday and knows every bit of the stretch and its surroundings, to the effect of developing a severe injury, cannot but be unusual.

Had he remained attentive, he could not have fallen. Then was he inattentive? The question is clamant, because he is an autocrat in a pattern of administration that people believe to be democracy.

There are many instances of men in high positions missing steps or making wrong movements due to inattentiveness to the extent of exposing themselves to danger.

Oleg Penkovsky was caught, because he was seen inattentive in a coffee bar. Viktor Suvorov (Vladimir Bgdanovich Rezun) describes Penkovsky as a man, whom “historians will remember with gratitude”, as, because of “his priceless information the Cuban crisis was not transformed into a last world war”. He was zeroed in by the British Intelligence when his coffee cup was noticed missing his mouth prompting the watching sleuth read in that a reflection of inattentiveness, which eventually materialized in exposure of the secrets he was to vomit, leading to change of circumstances then provocative enough to drag the world into the third (or the last, as Suvorov preferred to say) war of destruction.

So, there is reason to apprehend that Mr. Patnaik was under a condition of stress even in the morning and thereby was precariously inattentive during his morning walk when he fell down.

Though the real reason of such inattentiveness must be known only to himself, it is feared that he was under heavy stress due to exposure of land scam that was at the pertinent time hitting headlines, throwing him into severe predicament with possibility of unveiling of how he has obliged private land-grabbers, high court judges, political colleagues, IAS and IPS officers but for whose active and tacit support, the offenses committed against the people of Orissa could not have been executed.

Amongst beneficiaries of discretionary allotment of plots and houses in Naveen’s regime are former Chief Justice G B. Patnaik, Supreme Court Judge Deba Priya Mohapatra, former Orissa High Court Judge Radhakrishna Patra and others like Justice Sanju Panda, Justice Madan Mohan Das.

Beneficiaries amongst IAS officers include Chief Secretary Bijay Kumar Patnaik (two places) and others like Rabinarayan Senapati, Priyabrata Patnaik, Pradipt Kumar Jena, Alaka Panda, Aruna Kumar Panda, P.K.Mohanty, Bishal Dev, Arunodaya Swain, Nikunja Behari Dhal, Asok Kumar Tripathy, Rajkumar Sharma, Kishore Chandra Barik, Ratindranath Padhi,Sanjay kumar Singh (two places), Madhusudan Padhi, Pradipta Kumar Mohapatra, Prasant Kumar Nayak, Bhaskar Jyaoti Sharma, Anil Kumar Samal, Bipin Bihari Mohapatra, Bikash Chandra Mohapatra, Bishnupada Sethi, Laxminarayan Nayak, Chandrasekhar Kumar, Priyaranjan Shaha, Niranjan Sanyal, Rabiranjan Mallik, Vinod Kumar, S.N.Tripathy, Suresh Chandra Mohapatra, K.C.badu, T.Ramachandra, S.B.Agnihotri, Santos Kumar Sarangi, Santosh Kumar Mishra, Satyabrata Sahu and Sanjib Kumar Mishra.

Amongst the IPS officers, beneficiaries are the Police Chief Manmohan Praharaj, and Anup Patnaik (two places), Bijay Kumar Sharma (two places), Satyajit Mohanty (two places), M.Aksaya, Sudhansu Sarangi, Prakash Mishra, Suresh Palsania, Arun Bothra, K.B.Singh, Lalit Das, Sushant Das and Panabindu Acharya (two places in wife’s name) etc.

No political leadership in the past has obliged salary drawers like these fellows with plots of residential/commercial lands in blatant violation of guiding norms, as has happened in the government of Naveen Patnaik. Obviously these fellows are obliged as tentacles of maladministration.

On chance ride on political horse, Naveen has driven away the priority of administration from agriculture – the State’s well settled source of self-employment of maximum of her inhabitants for thousands of years – to mega industries of foreign and non-Oriya root of whom the majority has looted Orissa’s natural resources, specifically valuable mines, before even commencement of factories.

He has sabotaged higher education by keeping majority of faculty posts vacant in general and technological colleges and universities in the public sector and encouraged through sheer nonchalance the private techno-institutes to fill up their larger-than-justifiable-numbers of seats with students below mediocre standards with de facto offer of post-dated degrees that parents/families with black purses easily afford as well as Banks swollen with investors’ surplus money, lend.

He has sabotaged the health sector by not educating the public about exploitation by private hospitals while all the hospitals in periphery and medical colleges in public sector are left to suffer draught of doctors, faculties and operators of medical equipments even as their indoor patients jammed in dirty and uncleaned wards get easily trapped by ever haunting agents of private hospitals to shift thereto even if that requires sale of whatever properties they possess to defray their exploitive unbridled charges, in hopes of survival against hope, in absence of any care from the State.

So, in most essential sectors – food, employment, education and health – people of Orissa have suffered a set back in the regime of Naveen Patnaik. Yet he is in power, because corrupt and shrewd fellows in IAS and IPS, who control administration, have been collaborating with him and his gang in politics; even as elements of black-sheep in judiciary have contributed to creation of a feeling that it is not easy to establish a guilty as guilty, as a result of which bureaucratic collaborators of Naveen have acted sans qualms so long.

But with exposure of how judges and IAS as well as IPS officers have been obliged by distribution of lands with lucrative monumentality, Naveen has perhaps gone into a jitteriness that he is just not able to overcome at the moment. This is perhaps the reason of his inattentiveness, which, a legally authorized investigation by a team of experienced investigative journalists and criminologists combine can unveil.

In the past, the then chief minister R.N.Singhdeo had, notwithstanding being in power, subjected himself to a Commission of Inquiry when question was raised over his integrity. Will Naveen follow the precedence? He should; because it looks as if the exposed land scam is too worrisome for him to keep himself stable.

He is so unstable and vulnerable to blackmailing by some of his senior colleagues that he doesn’t dare to drop them from his cabinet despite their admitted acquisition of additional government plots was evidently facilitated by false affidavits.

Orissa (changed to Odisha under a misconceived Act) needs end of this nastiness.

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CHANGE IN MEDIA STANCE REFLECTS LOSS OF PEOPLES’ CONFIDENCE IN ORISSA CM

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

If Chief Minister Navin Patnaik could be distinguished for any specific behavior that is his shying at the peoples of Orissa.

As is evidenced in his visit to Kandhamal on August 30, he could not dare to visit any village that perished under communal fire. To please his communal allies he visited the Hindutwa activist Laxmanananda’s murder spot and interacted with a very few persons who were clearly in Hindu fold; but he never dared to meet the vandalized villagers.

There were severe intracommunity conflicts at Koradagarh as high caste Hindus subjected low caste Hindus to atrocious hooliganism by obstructing their rights to worship Sri Jagannath even to the extent of contemptuously contravening High Court orders. Navin could not dare to reach the spot to inspire peoples to drop caste prejudices and to build up social solidarity.

His uniformed forces killed innocent tribal peoples in Kalinganagar as they were opposing industrialists like Tata taking over their mother-soil. He never dared to visit the families of the victims after the mayhem.

Peoples have been fighting for their mother-soil in Kujang Tahsil where foreign firm POSCO is using Orissa administration to grab their land. Peoples are fighting against acquisition of their mother-soil at Puri for handing over the same to non-Oriya Anil Agrawal. Peoples are also opposing the same land-grabber’s nefarious design at the foot of Niyamagiri. Seeking implementation of their birthright to get justice without difficulty the peoples of western Orissa have been agitating to have a division bench of the High Court in their portion of the State.

Like this everywhere peoples are feeling that they are abandoned by their state government and so, are fighting for their rights in their own ways.

As the leader of the State, Navin should have gone to their midst to have conversations with them, to acquaint himself with their problems personally in order to find out how they will not feel abandoned. But he has never.

This is simply because he knows that the aura of his-father’s-son-status that he and his cronies had dandled before the gullible people was too artificial to live long and has by now dwindled.

He knows peoples have lost their misconceived confidence in him and hence he is shying at them.

He has lost the confidence since long. But the media, specifically Oriya language media, propelled by plutocratic tentacles, has kept him erect in the political arena so far. To understand this phenomenon one needs to know the contemporary Oriya newspapers and their nexus.

Oriya language newspapers are mostly in right-wingers’ hands with a common creed of antagonism to communism. In other words, they are anti-progress. Navin’s obsessions with industry oblivious of the grief-struck-grassroots never seem to them as anti-people policies. He has a well-set nexus with them as the anti-progress practices these newspapers have adopted in search of advertisement revenue suits him most.

Most of the Oriya newspapers have given false and fabricated circulation figures that the government knows quite well.

Almost all of them are guilty of unfair labor practices and in no newspaper in Orissa, working journalists are paid with due wages.

Were the labor law implementation machinery being used against the newspaper owners, most of them might have been legally incarcerated. This has never happened.

There are journalists in Oriya newspaper organizations whose wealth is thousand times more than what they draw as salary. This illegitimate wealth accumulated by lead journalists of lead newspapers is generally generated by their nexus with economic offenders. Newspaper establishments know it, but they also know that the said journalists know the unholy nexus of their owners with the underworld and the packs of people in power. So, there is no action against any journalist on charge of corruption.

Concealment of wealth is a penal offense. For any wealth disproportionate to known source of income, the Laws have penal provisions. But Laws are rendered inoperative in matter of illicit wealth accumulation by media persons.

The vigilance wing of state police can intervene and unveil disproportionate wealth and subject the offender to prosecution. Vigilance police knows who of the Orissan journalists have wealth hundredth or thousandth time more than their legitimate income. But it has never dared to intervene, as it knows that journalists of this type know how corruption is going on in the vigilance organization itself.

Only last week, a low rank engineer, who has been working in the vigilance organization for about two decades, has, due to a whistle-blower, been discovered as a man of crores, which, in terms of money exceeds his legitimate income by hundred times. This accumulation was going on when the present Director General of Police was the Director of vigilance. Only an idiot can accept that this was going on without the knowledge of vigilance department. If the vigilance police claim to be ignorant of this corruption, then it is to admit that the organization is not vigilant. What a shame!

Lest the shame exposed, the vigilance police have never tried to expose the newspapers and the journalists who they know have undisclosed wealth accumulated by way of misuse of professional power.

On the other hand, the IAS officers who are ruling the roost are having their agents in newspapers and amongst journalists. A close watch on them would lead to know that IAS officers in senior echelon have their preferred persons in Oriya media. They often work according to their advice. There is no official sanction for any IAS officer to have any journalist as his advisor. But visit any IAS officer in odd hours; you may see in his official chamber or in his residence a journalist whose rapport with the officer may make you astonished.

The rapport is not professional, but personal. The base is secret. You may use your imagination to any extent to find out the secret if you can, but be sure of one thing that such a journalist who enjoys no-bar-entry into the inner circle of a senior IAS officer acts as a conduit and is certainly a possessor of undisclosed wealth. .

Men who matter know how an officer after elevation to chief secretary rank had patronized a small group of journalists to bring out a daily newspaper and how this newspaper starting from the inaugural edition fetched crores of rupees from advertisement by help of the said officer. The vigilance police that are officially entitled to obstruct corruption never looked at this new phenomenon and never tried to know if the said officer was fetching undisclosed money under the cover of this newspaper. This may just be the tip of the nexus-iceberg.

A blatantly corrupt fellow placed in lift irrigation wing has been unveiled in a recent vigilance raid propelled by insistence of a whistle-blower as possessor of several crores of rupees. But this officer’s ability to practice corruption without attracting anybody’s attention was considered as an outstanding administrative ability by his controlling officers in the IAS echelon and therefore he was rewarded with promotion to IAS from OAS.

These are just instances. The whole gamut of administration in Orissa has become corrupt. A collective lootraj in active collaboration with unscrupulous lot amongst the journalists and lead newspapers is going on in Orissa in the regime of Navin Patnaik with stooges well placed in all nerve centers of administration.

Therefore, Navin and his officialdom enjoy a situation where they claim to be enjoying peoples’ confidence.

But the situation has started changing.

In every newspaper now-a-days most of the headlines show how Orissa is being duped and drowned under misrule. Every newspaper in almost every page is highlighting ongoing corruption and deficient administration.

For an instance we may look at certain headlines of selected newspapers Dated August 30 as on editions of this day, the news of ‘no’ to no-confidence motion against Navin was published.

Let me start with Khabar. This is the newest language daily of Orissa. BJD’s most powerful MP, Pyari Mohan Mohapatra off the records owns it. In a five-column photo-studded story captioned “Manisha Hata” (Human Market), it highlighted in its op-ed page how workers are distress-selling themselves when labor laws are freely contravened in the capital city of Bhubaneswar. It has many other reports on misrule in the same edition like the one under another five-column headline, “Faltering in highway repair causes 767 casualties in Khurda within three years”. Similarly, “Health services in disarray due to want of Doctors”, “Rs.2 per kg. Rice in Black-market” etc highlighted by Khabar are multi-column reports on misrule in Orissa. The daily, Dharitri, virtually owned by another BJD MP, Tathagat Satpathy, in a multi-column story exposed how clandestinely the state government has ordered for location of forestland to be handed over to POSCO to the predicament of local peoples agitating against allocation of their soil to the foreign firm.

When papers under virtual ownership of BJD MPs are thus eagerly highlighting the dark-side of Navin administration, the scenarios in other newspapers need no specific elaboration.

The visible shift in media stance is indicative of the fact that notwithstanding defeat of the no-confidence motion on August 29 in Orissa Assembly, Orissa media has grasped that peoples of the State have lost their confidence in chief minister Navin Patnaik and that is being reflected in the change in their stance.

ANOTHER BIG BLACK SHEEP SYMBOLIZES HOW NAVIN HAS PROMOTED MAFIA IN ADMINISTRATION

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Another big black sheep, who is in Indian Administrative Service (IAS) by promotion, stands symbolic of how Chief Minister Navin Patnaik has promoted mafia in state administration.

He is Himansu Sekhar Samantray, incumbent Managing Director of Orissa Lift Irrigation Corporation that is being steered by Sri Patnaik himself as the concerned minister.

A vigilance raid propelled by bold informers has unearthed accumulation of more than Rs.10 crores worth wealth by Samantray beyond his known source of income.

This case is just another case.

Intermittently Orissa Vigilance conducts some such raids and warms up media headlines and then takes a sound sleep until some other insistent informer rouses it up to a new raid.

It has never informed the people of what punishment is meted out to officers, who were caught with corrupt wealth in raids it conducted, at least never in the Navin regime.

Even the vigilance directorate never responds to journalistic queries as to how much such corrupt wealth has ever been confiscated offenderwise.

What happens to the piles unmasked as castles of illegal income during quantity surveying by the vigilance organization? Peoples are kept in dark. And, deliberately.

So the farce of vigilance prosecution will go on in matter of Samantray as it goes in matters of others without any benefit to the tax-payers whose money fellows like him swindle.

To go beyond this farce, we stress on action against the person or persons whose patronization has helped Samantray bag promotion after promotion to rise from Orissa Administrative Service (OAS) to IAS that he has used as his way to acquire such massive illicit wealth.

Chief Minister Navin Patnaik must place details of his patrons before the public and also reveal the details of his reporting officers who in his confidential character rolls had given this corrupt officer “outstanding” remarks to help him supersede other OAS officers in promotion to IAS.

He also should reveal as to how the Comptroller and Auditor General had viewed the fund management angles while auditing accounts of offices under his control periodwise and the details of internal audits relevant to him.

It is a shame that the Chief Minister is trying to use vigilance raids to his political advantage. Instead of playing this nefarious game, he should make no delay in letting people know the functionaries on whose help this big black sheep has climbed the ladder of departmental promotions so far so unhindered.

It is also better for vigilance to stop parading such fuzzy pictures of rash raids and to bring out to public gaze the behind-the-screen godfathers of Samantray and his likes so that people at least can know how Navin regime has helped Mafia to grow in administration.

If Navin Patnaik has not helped mafia to grow, he should use his constitutional prerogatives to demote Samantary and compel the executive functionaries to detect his godfathers so that they can at least be damned.

CROWNING CORRUPTION: PROMOTION TO IAS SMACKS OF MANIPULATION

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

If the judgment of the Supreme Court of India delivered on 04 August 2006 is not wrongly read, it would make it crystal clear that, the last promotion to Indian Administrative Service (IAS) from Orissa Administrative Service (OAS) cadre was guided not by principles in force but by extraneous considerations.

It is astonishing that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who has shown uncommon agility in dropping any of his ministers on allegation of corruption, is yet to act against the corrupt coterie with the help of which the illegally promoted persons are still drawing the salary they are not entitled to and still enjoying the status they are not qualified for.

I do not think that Naveen Patnaik had any personal role in the promotion that has now been stamped as illegal finally by Supreme Court. But when the State does not rise in right response to observations of the Judiciary to correct the wrong it has perpetrated, he being the holder of the portfolio, who should explain the position?

Let us look at the position from the corridors of the Supreme Court.

Mr. J. P. Agrawal had gone there seeking nullification of an order of the High Court of Orissa. The Supreme Court refused even to admit the case.

Who is J.P.Agrawal?

He is Jagdish Prasad Agrawal, an OAS officer illegally elevated to IAS. In disapproving his promotion to IAS, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) had expressed concern over the use of administrative machinery to suppress vital facts about punishment awarded to him for misconduct in the memorandum prepared for the Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC). The CAT action, on challenge, had been endorsed by the High Court.

But Agrawal was not the only one whose promotion to IAS smacks of manipulation. We may look into the matter to have a cursory view of how corrupt have become the higher echelon of Orissa bureaucracy.

In 2002 eight officers of OAS were selected to IAS. But the most suitable officers were discarded in favor of the deficient ones.

This was challenged by Shri Aswini Kumar Das, presently the Collector of Puri and Shri Pramod Chandra Patnaik, Collector of Nuapada before the Central Administrative Tribunal in O.A. No.2/2004.

The crux of their allegations was that these Officers were promoted to the I.A.S. without evaluation of their suitability on the matrix of their complete Service Records and notwithstanding the adverse entries in their Confidential Character Rolls (C.C.R.) and the punishments imposed through disciplinary proceedings. It was specifically alleged that Shri J.P.Agrawal and Shri Satyananda Sethi had got punishment in disciplinary proceedings, but this fact was suppressed. Similarly, when there was a question mark on the integrity of one officer and such adverse entry was not counter balanced by the prescribed authority i.e. the Chief Secretary, he was also selected. Shri Balakrishna Sahu having adverse entry in the C.C.R. and having been superseded in promotion to Senior Class-I and later to Joint Secretary rank, also got selected whereas the two petitioners, Mr. Das and Mr. Patnaik, having unblemished Service Records and ‘Outstanding’ grading for continuous five years were discarded.

Baffling it is that on consideration of the same bunch of C.C.Rs i.e. from 1996-97 to 2000-2001 Mr. Patnaik, who, having continuous Outstanding remarks therein, had superseded others in promotion to the rank of Additional Secretary, was rejected for promotion to I.A.S.whereas the superseded officers bagged the promotion.

Out of the eight officers selected to I.A.S., only three officers had outstanding CCRs for five years and the rest five had no such distinction though one of these five, Raj Kishor Jena, who got the promotion had acquired outstanding remarks only for three months. It is surprising that these five officers have superseded Das and Patnaik who have been continuously placed in outstanding grade for five years and have always been considered unblemished.

On being apprised of this, and on the basis of documented pleadings, the CAT concluded in O.A. No.1255/2003 that the punishments inflicted on Shri J.P.Agrawal did not find place in the A.C.R. folder, as a result of which the Selection Committee did not get opportunity to be aware of such blemishes against any recommended persons. Mentioning about “startling facts” that revealed in course of hearing how some of the selected Officers did not enjoy blemishless career, the CAT had underlined that the Officers to be selected to I.A.S. should be beyond suspicion like the Ceasar’s wife. And, for this, the Selection Committee should review the C.C.Rs of at least eight years instead of five. But, if an Officer is graded as ‘Outstanding’, his entire service career should be scanned to ensure that his categorization as ‘Outstanding’ can never be questioned on the ground that in the past he did not enjoy blemishless service records. Therefore, the whole selection List was quashed and a review meeting was ordered for.

This order was appealed before the Orissa High Court by Shri Jagdish Prasad Agrawal in W.P. No.13445/2005 and Shri K.C.Mohapatra in W.P. No.13153/2004. A Bench consisting of the Chief Justice and Justice Madan Mohan Das upheld the above judgment of the Tribunal with a modification to the extent that the Selection Committee should see the C.C.Rs of Officers for past five years instead of eight. They relied on the judgment of the Supreme Court in the matter of Shri R.K.Das Vrs. Union of India (AIR 1987 SC(593), in which it has been stated that the Committee has to categorize the members of State services on the basis of entries available in their Character Rolls and thereafter to arrange their names in the proposed List in accordance with the principles laid down in Regulation 05. This was mandated to eliminate every possible scope for discrimination through application of different standard or criteria at different times for preparing the List.

Mr. Agrawal had gone against this Order of Orissa High Court.

After refusal of the Supreme Court to interfere with the Verdict of the Orissa High Court, it has been crystal clear that when the eight OAS officers were selected to IAS in 2002, the State Secretariat had been transformed into a breeding place of favoritism and clientelism and the selection was made in stark disregard to administrative impartialism.

As I look back, P.K.Mohanty, the then Chief Secretary, Srinibas Rath, the then Development Commissioner and Arun Kumar Panda, the then R.D.C.- all from Orissa and Gurbachan Singh, Member of U.P.S.C. assisted by Union Joint Secretary S.Jagadeesham comprised the Committee.

They were the senior most members of the bureaucracy. How could they prefer evidently deficient officers to the officers who had been graded ‘outstanding’ for continuous five years in their transparently blemish less service careers? They cannot say that they had not violated administrative acuity in order to select the unsuitable persons they selected. Now they should be asked to say as to why did they do it.

Had they gone through the list of Officers under the Zone of Consideration, Mr. Aswini K. Das and Mr. Promod Chandra Patnaik, the two most suitable officers, I am sure, would never have been discarded. But they did not do it. The Orissa officers did not help the U.P.S.C. and the Union Government in evaluating the suitability of the Officers concerned.

After the CAT verdict the State Government had known that a wrong has been done. It was the duty of the State Government to take correctional steps. But it did not act in that respect. Mohanty, relinquishing the Chief Secretary post has been awarded with the more coveted post of Chairman of Orissa Public Service Commission.

But the two most brilliant and outstanding officers are languishing in the State service cadre whereas the State Exchequer is being exploited for paying them the salary packages applicable to a cadre to which their illegal entrance has been declared null and void.

The State is under Peoples’ Representatives. Hence the authority above the Chief Secretary is the Chief Minister. If he has not compelled the Chief Secretary ( P.K.Mohanty as then he was) and his team in the Committee to supersede the most suitable officers by the tainted ones, in this case, he must take steps to punish this fellow for having corrupted administration as discussed above. Steps need be taken to determine the corrupt practices resorted to by each of the members in the concerned Committees in suppressing vital facts and in sloughing over the guiding laws.

The Constitution of India has created Public Service Commissions for only one purpose. That is elimination of favoritism in selection of Union or State Service Officers.

Any violation of this purpose is an offense against the Constitution.

Hence I expect the Chief Minister to understand that it is his duty to bring every offender in the instant case to books as an example of responsible parliamentary rule, and most importantly as a deterrent to any such manipulations in future.