Chit Fund Felony: If Alok Jena is correct, CBI should rethink over its lawyers

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

People of Orissa have been closely watching the CBI in its course of investigation into the chilling cheating, which they have been subjected to by the Artha Tattwa (AT) (chit fund) Chief Pradeep Sethy. And, as its investigation proceeds, people’s increasing faith in this national body becomes more defined, discernible and distinct. So this faith must not be allowed to dwindle.

At this juncture, well known social activist Sri Alok Jena has raised a point that deserves immediate attention of CBI. It is Sri Jena whose timely knock at the door of the Supreme Court has given birth to this CBI investigation into the chit fund felony. So, the point he has raised deserves serious attention.

This hovers around a silent but nagging fear of the finding of the sleuths going haywire in the sub-zone of labyrinth of law, as the ex-Advocate General Asok Mohanty already grilled by CBI over his property link with Sethy is, according to his information, married to sister-in-law of the CBI lawyer S.K.Padhi.

Padhi’s sister, according to Jena, is also married to former Director of CBI,  Sri Uma Shankar Mishra, whose connection with chit fund beneficiary Bikash Swain is conspicuous by his association with Swain’s news-daily Suryaprava since its pre-natal days.

Over and above this, Jena says, another lawyer of CBI – Mr. V. Narasingh – has taken two plots from the AT group of Sethy.

In the circumstances, despite all efforts of CBI to dig out the felony and to bring the offenders to books, mismanagement of prosecution when the results of investigations reach the hands of its above named lawyers, may mar the splendid works the sleuths are presently doing, Jena fears.

So, if Alok Jena is correct, there is reason to apprehend that the vested-interest circle of relationship of its lawyers named above with certain subjects of CBI investigation may continue to disturb Sri Jena and the cheated depositors.

It would be, therefore, better if the CBI reshuffles its team of lawyers to eliminate suspected elements of nepotism or proceeds for appointment of a new team of special prosecutors in this specific case.

Samaja Reporter enlarged on Bail

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Reporter of the Samaja, Jitendra Prasad Das, framed up deliberately by the controllers of the paper, specifically the executive editor, in the communal tangle centering the major daily over publication of a forged photo of Prophet Mahammad, has been, a few minutes ago, granted bail by the SDJM, Cuttack.

Welcome Sri Das to the world of your own freedom.

J P Das with family

Thanks Utkalmani Newspaper Employees Association for the courageous, principled, relentless campaign you conceived and continued for release of your friend from the jail; thanks, members of the MUFP Presidium for your unconditional standing behind Das; thanks all netizens who have raised your voice against unjustified prosecution of Das, and thanks the judicial brilliance that ensured Das’s getting back his lost liberty and finally, thanks Mrs. Das for having courageously endured the turmoil with the small kid and the elderly mother-in-law. Thanks to you friends, all again.

Sathi Salam

Release the Reporter and Arrest the Editor of Samaja with the Gang Immediately: Employees Trade Union

The communal disturbances ignited by the Samaja controllers has shocked the State.

When real culprits are protected by the Police, Jitendra Prasad Das, a very innocent staff reporter purposefully shown as sub-editor, has been thrown into the jail to mislead the public.

Leaders of Utkalmani Newspaper Employees Association (UNEA) have demanded for forthwith release of Das and for immediate arrest of Satya Ray, Niranjan Rath, Sushant Mohanty and Suresh Mantry, who in its views, are the real culprits.

We post below their statement:

“Sri Jitendra Prasad Das a working journalist in position of Staff Reporter of the Samaja is made a scapegoat by wrong-doing executive editor, printer/publisher and General Manager (all impostors) of the paper and has been thrown into the central jail at Chaudwar as an undertrial prisoner, for fault, which he has never committed. The wrong-doing fellows that presently control the Samaja are always using workers as scapegoats.

It is sad that the executive editor who should have owned the responsibility for offensive publication to the chagrin of a minority community, has, to save his skin, treacherously handed over Das to the Police. And the police has acted a puppet in arresting and throwing him into custody jeopardizing his right to personal and press freedom, when he is not at all responsible for the controversial posting in the paper.

The crux of the issue is that a photo allegedly of a sacred path-setter for a minority community, downloaded from Internet, was published in the Samaja in its January 14 edition. Finding it offensive, a delegation of the affected minority community had wanted to meet the general manager of the paper, but was denied audience. This irritated the community that took the conduct of the paper as an affront to their religious distinction and eventually ignited a communal passion leading to severe damage of the properties of paper as well as to its credibility. Dignity of Press was totally shattered for which the executive editor as well as the printer/publisher, news coordinator and the man who poses as the general manager are squarely responsible.

If playing havoc on communal peace and harmony and tranquil of the society is an offense, all the above mentioned four functionaries – they are impostors as there is no legal sanction behind their incumbencies- by their very irresponsible conduct, are the offenders and the police should have arrested, if that was so necessary, any or all these four persons. But, instead of doing that, the police has diverted public attention from the culprits to the entirely innocent reporter.

The UNEA strongly condemns the wrong action of police and calls upon the state to drop the case in which Sri Das has been willfully and falsely implicated.

The severe damage done to the property and credibility of the Samaja because of the highly objectionable and irresponsible conduct of the executive editor (sadly, the premiere paper has no editor) and the printer/publisher, is irreparable. UNEA demands strongest possible penal action specifically against them individually and collectively.

The UNEA therefore calls upon the police to withdraw its case against Das and to immediately arrest the gang of four – Satya Ray, Niranjan Rath, Susant Mohanty and Suresh Mantry – known to the police as Executive Editor, Printer/Publisher, Chief News Coordinator and General manager of Samaja respectively, as otherwise, relevant documents and evidences of their crime may be wiped out.

The UNEA further demands that due steps be immediately taken to ensure safety for Das in the jail as there is treat to his life from prisoners belonging to the irritated minority community.

Devi Prasanna Nayak (President),
Subash Ch. Singh (Gen. Secretary)
Utkalmani Newspaper Employees Association, Cuttack

We Need Such A Law

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

In March, the Additional Sessions Judge holding Fast Track Court No. 2, at Phulbani had acquitted 142 persons arrested by the Brahmunigaon police as their offense allegedly committed in 2007 could not be proved.

So also the Additional Sessions Judge holding Fast Track Court No.1 had acquitted 14 persons arrested in a 2008 case by G Udayagiri Police, as the prosecution could not establish the charges.

In yet another case, the First Track Court No.2 has on April 21 acquitted 7 persons arrested by Tikabali police against alleged offenses committed in 2008, as there were no evidence to prove them guilty.

Is the acquittal enough?

It is time to cogitate this question.

People of Kandhamal district are too simple and ignorant to estimate what damage they have been forced to suffer being accused under-trial.

But when they are adjudged not guilty, because the prosecution had no evidence against them, they deserve to be automatically compensated in cash for the damage they have financially, physically, mentally and socially suffered.

Steps in this regard in appropriate forums are essential.

When the police fails to prove the charges it levels against any citizen, the police officer responsible for loss of his freedom and imposition of under-trial stigma on him, must be punished for misuse of power in arresting the person, for having falsely implicated the person against whom there is no evidence or for suppression of evidence to help the accused escape punishment.

Orissa Assembly Standing Committee on Home Department, in its report to the House in the Budget Session, has come down heavily upon deliberate dereliction of duty marked in the police organization. As non-registration of FIR is an offense which the police is asked not to resort to, institution of false cases against any citizen by the police also must be viewed as an offense.

The acquitted accused must be compensated with appropriate amount of cash to be collected from police officer responsible for his suffering.

We need such a law.

STOP PROSECUTING LENIN ROY: IMPOSE CEILING ON PROPERTY

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Bhubaneswar Police has arrested the editor of progressive journal, Nishan, Mr. Lenin Kumar Roy along with two of his colleagues, Dhanjaya Lenka and Rabi Jena, under suspicion that they were the authors of alleged Naxal tracts that the rightwing media had claimed to have stumbled upon in the capital city last week. They are remanded to judicial custody.

It seems, squeals of right-wing media over suspected Naxal presence in Bhubaneswar has made the police pounce on the editor of the progressive journal. Poets and authors of the State have put on records their protests against the police highhandedness.

What is Lenin’s offense that the police is harping on? Firstly, his comment carried by Nishan on the flare up that communalism had ignited in Kandhamal and secondly, presence of CDs that allegedly carry data of human tragedies, stored also in the hard disk of his computer, which, according to police interpretations, are pro-Naxal.

When the matter is subjudice, one hopes, the judiciary will unveil the truth.

But as the instant reaction of thinkers and writers of Orissa suggests, one finds that progressive intelligentsia is not taking police version as free of prejudice. As such, the right thinking Oriya intellectuals, poets and authors and fighters for freedom in expression – all apolitical patriots – have started defending Lenin and his team very openly and unambiguously.

But without any prejudice, one may say that it is quite difficult to understand as to how possession of certain data of human tragedies constitutes an offense. This is a part of intellectual pursuit that an editor of a progressive journal is supposed to have as it helps him interpret contemporary issues so germane to his profession.

On the other hand, fundamental duties that the Constitution of India has assigned to every Indian include individual and collective endeavor to interpret scriptures and religious occurrences in such manners that a socio-scientific tenor should be evolved out of such interpretations to pave the path for a future society free of religious infestations.

Progressive authors, specifically the journalists, have to bear the burden of this responsibility.

In doing this, they may make comments on religious practices that may look like disparaging to dogmatism. And, any religious fanatic may raise a cry that thereby his or her religious belief has been outraged. Notwithstanding presence of Sections 153A and 295A of IPC, police should desist from invoking these draconian provisions against such progressive journalists and authors as the same may kill the spirit of fundamental duties enshrined in the Constitution and defeat the fundamental rights that the citizens are given in the matter of free expression. Police in Nishan case has preferred not to think about this.

Beyond this, if intellectuals of the State refuse to stand with police action against Lenin and his team, it is because the police personnel in various occasions have been marked for having falsely implicated innocent people in criminal cases.

This time, it seems as if the police is executing a conspiracy of rightwing media against the intellectually accepted progressive journal, Nishan.

A rightwing TV channel that feeds its viewers mostly with superstitions and other recipes of theism in apparent support to religious revivalism was the first to raise a tempest over pasting of typed sheets of papers allegedly containing the Naxal warnings at dingy joints in the city when election propaganda for Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation was at its peak and went on noising that the police is too smug to nail Naxal menace even though the Capital of the State is threatened by its presence. And, rightwing print media went on repeating the same.

Assembly session added the fuel. Police pounced on the team of the only journal that is considered by even the apolitical intelligentsia as progressive.

Cases may be cooked up. Courts may be hoodwinked. Patriots may be punished. But can conscience be extinguished? No.

As long as exploitation continues, protest against exploitation shall go on. Responding to call of conscience peoples will sure rise to protest against exploitation. So prosecuting a progressive editor would not stop spread of protests.

But if protests become violent, our motherland shall bleed. And, no creative person, poet, author, artist, journalist, none of the lovers of human society, can support any action that may make the motherland bleed.

Therefore, the Naxals are not yet getting popular support. Nonetheless, they are spreading.

We must cogitate.

Everybody knows that economic inequality is the basic reason behind spreading of Naxalism. It has grown out of failure of Communists to steer the nation into political economy of socialism. So it is an economic phenomenon; not a matter only of law and order as the rightist say.

Police cannot curb it. Military cannot.

Only a politico-economic formula can curb Naxalism.

This formula must urgently be evolved to remove the inequality.

If we are serious, we must seriously think of our beloved Bapuji. We have forgotten him. He had wanted the country to run in a manner where upliftment of the poorest of the poor must form the core of planning. But our planning is addressed to devise ways to gift stimulus packages to the rich to help consolidation of imperialism.

If the country belongs to every Indian, the deprived Indians must revolt against deprivation. Who can stop?

In his reply to debates on the third reading of the Constitution in the Constituent Assembly of India, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar had given vent to his fears that the hard-earned freedom of India may not last for long if the Parliament to be constituted under the Constitution fails to remove the economic inequality, which, overwhelmed by the propertied class representing the Indian National Congress in majority in the Assembly, the makers of the Constitution had failed to undo. Showing the shortcomings of the Constitution he had said,

“On 26th January 1950, we are going to enter into a life of contradiction. In politics, we will have equality and in social and economic rights we will have inequality. In politics we will be recognizing the principle of one man and one vote, one value. In our social and economic rights we shall by reason of our social and economic structure, continue to deny one man one value…We must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment or else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy which this Assembly has so laboriously built up.”(Constituent Assembly Debates, Vol.XI, p.979)

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Instead of curbing inequality, the Governments, hand-in-glove with the rich, have spread inequality. Unless they stop it, peoples shall stop it by force. In words of what Ambedkar has warned, “they will blow up the structure of political democracy”. Police can’t stop that.

So, stop prosecuting the Nishan team if at all they are opponents of inequality and try to remove social and economic inequality as soon as possible in right earnest if you love the motherland. By prosecuting Lenin Roy, Dhanjaya Lenka and Rabi Jena, police can’t stop victims of inequality from “blowing up the structure of political democracy”.

But let us stop it collectively without creating any cause of confrontation.

To do this, let us go back to beloved Gandhiji, whom the Congress, represented by the propertied class, had ignored in making of the Constitution.

He had the foresight to know what would happen to India if economic inequality widens the gap between the poor and the rich. He had devised a unique method called “Theory of Trusteeship”. The rich must stop exploiting the poor and treat himself as the trustee of the property of the poor. This is perhaps the only way of stopping class war in the most non-violent way. This is time; we must address our entire political consciousness to bring Bapuji’s Theory of Trusteeship to practice in India, if we are really serious about stopping blood bath on politico-economic ground. If the rich does not voluntarily accept the theory, it must be made to accept.

To do this, two steps are essential. Firstly, the government must retrieve democracy from the labyrinth of plutocracy. It must stop economic gifts in any guise to the rich to make them richer. And, secondly, it must put a ceiling on accumulation of property. When Indian farmers are distress selling their paddies, women are distress selling their bodies, mothers are distress selling their babies, workers are distress selling their abilities, why should a single Indian Ambani, son of a man of obscure beginning, be allowed to have a home that would, when finished, be the costliest building under the sky to live in? Why should India be two Indias like this? To stop this, we must stop concentration of unlimited wealth in individual hands. And for this, ceiling on property must be an unavoidable must.

The state must be told to stop prosecuting Lenin, as the remedy to Naxalism does not lie therein, but lies in removal of social and economic inequalities.

ST. JOHN AMBULANCE SHIELDS A CHARGESEETED COLLEGE TEACHER

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

A college teacher facing charges under Section 13(2) read with section 13(1)(d) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 as well as Sections 420 / 463 / 471 / 477(A) and 120(B) of Indian Penal Code before the Vigilance Court at Bhubaneswar since March 2001 is rewarded by the St.John Ambulance Orissa State Centre with its coveted post of Joint Secretary.

As revealed from the charge sheet, this fellow, Jantrana Parikshit by name, was involved with rampant corruption and forgery while working as Principal of different colleges. On investigation by Puri unit of Orissa Vigilance Police, he had been forwarded to the Vigilance Court where he is under trial.

Sunil Kumar Pradhan, Life Member of St. John Ambulance organization is at a loss to understand as to how a man of such dubious background has been given such a lucrative position in St.John Ambulance organization.

Even as the media in Orissa has extensively covered the details of the case, Pradhan smells a rat, as his letter to the State Centre Secretary demanding dropping of this man from the chair is lying sloughed over as yet.

Pradhan has reportedly attracted attention of the State Governor against rehabilitation of a chargesheeted person in the St.John Ambulance Centre in a top position.

But, who is his godfather in the government? Who has provided him with this shield?

The Governor being its statutory head must find out the facts and expedite the remedy.