Court orders Police to register case against former Judicial Officer

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

It is not always that a court orders the Police to register a cognizable offence case against a former judicial officer. But retired officer of Orissa Judicial Service C.R.Dash is one such person against whom the Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate (S), Cuttack, in ICC 1001/13, has ordered the Police to take cognizance and register the FIR within 24 hours, which had been gathering dust in the Cantonment Police Station, Cuttack since 3.12.2012.

Samaja gate 1Servants of the People Society, which has illegally occupied the Samaja by using a forged will of Gopabandhu, has transformed the iconic newspaper of Orissa into a crime center, tormenting loyal employees of the newspaper with false and fabricated cases and has resorted to blatant unfair labor practices to keep the workforce intimidated. Labor officials, under pressure from the Chief Minister have sat mum when the illegal management has been trying to destroy the Trade Union of the employees – the Utkalmani Newspaper Employees Association (UNEA).

In one such case against the President of UNEA, the said illegal occupiers of the Samaja had appointed a retired Judicial Officer namely C.R.Dash as domestic enquiry officer and had tactfully dragged in a low-paid Machine Helper namely Surendra Behera into where the same officer was holding enquiry into allegations against the President of the Union, Sri Deviprasanna Nayak, on 3.12. 2012 and had forced to depose in their favor as a management witness.

Dash was appointed the enquiry officer on recommendation of Niranjan Rath, on whose allegation the so-called domestic enquiry had been instituted.

He asked Behera to sign on a written, predated document, which under condition of alarm the poor worker had to comply with. The document was dated 1 .12.2012. Dash did not disclose what it was, but disallowed him to write the date under his signature. On the other hand, he prompted Behera to corroborate the management allegations against Nayak. Behera refused to give any false and prompted deposition. But Dash did not bother. He went on dictating the typist the deposition, which Behera had never made and forced him to sit mum till the dictation was over and to sign the typed sheet, after which only he can leave the enquiry hall. Behera panicked, but kept quiet. As the guard grew little inattentive, he rushed out of the room and went to the Cantonment Police Station and filed FIR against the malicious conduct of the Enquiry Officer. In the FIR he apprehended that he may be forced by the Assistant H.R.Manager to sign the paper that the EO had dictated when he should be reporting on normal duty in the night shift. He wanted protection and action against the EO and the A.H.R.M. for criminal conspiracy and act of intimidation.

The corrupt and pressurized police inspector-in-charge did not register the FIR, despite the poor workman running to the P.S. several times. He had to, finally, knock the door of justice seeking direction to the police to take cognizance of the reported offense.

In taking up the case, the S.D.J.M. (S), Cuttack, has observed in his order dated 14.10.14 that, “The alleged offences are cognizable in nature. Hence, I feel it proper, in the interest of justice, that there will be an investigation by the police with regard to the allegation leveled in the complaint”.

And, as such, he has issued orders U/S 156(3), CrPC to the IIC, Cantonment Police Station “to register the complaint petition within 24 hours of receipt of the order and to report compliance promptly”.

And, consequently on 18.10.2014, Behera’s complaint has been registered as FIR No.83 setting on motion Sections 341/294/506/465/468/469 and 34 of Indian Penal Code.

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The Labor Authorities must wake up against unfair labor practices by The Samaja Occupiers

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The Servants of the People Society (SoPS), which is suspected to have occupied The Samaja by forging a Will of its founder Pt. Gopabandhu Das, has some life members that are spotted for moral turpitude and funds embezzlement. To preempt legal action, these tainted members have tampered with records of the society and occupied its office, brandishing an election that was never held. The known and legitimate authority of SoPS – K.C.Tripathi – has challenged this false election in appropriate legal forums in Orissa, which is pending.

The occupiers of office have not yet established their legitimacy as office bearers of SoPS. But these fellows have resorted to various unfair labor practices to intimidate the employees and have apparently influenced material officers of the labor department, as a result of which, the employees’ complaint against such illegality is not being attended to by the concerned officers in right earnest.

Samaj OfficeThe multi-editional Samaja has around 400 journalist and non-journalist employees. But, it has no legitimate Standing Orders as required under the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946. The Utkalmani Newspaper Employees Association, the only and duly recognized Trade Union of employees of the Samaja has attracted the attention of the Labor Commissioner (LC) repeatedly to this malady. The LC has been sleeping over the issue.

To impress their legitimacy upon the Court, the occupiers of SoPS are forcing the Samaja employees to carry out their orders, howsoever wrong, whimsical and capricious that be.

As for example, Dr. Satya Ray, executive editor, has been arbitrarily transferred to Sambalpur, even though his retirement on superannuation is knocking at the doors. But, while continuing at Sambalpur, he is dragged back to Cuttack to undertake a judicial lobby for the illegal occupiers of The Samaja using his personal relationship with a senior Judge.

According to confidential sources, he is assured of editorship of the paper if he succeeds in this secret mission.

Another Executive Editor Dr. Pramod Mohapatra, to his shock and everybody’s astonishment, has been subjected to humiliation by being drafted to sell books in the book fares.

They have even transferred the President of the Association, Sub-Editor Devi Prasanna Nayak to Kolkata by a back-dated letter, suggesting that his services were essentially required there; but have put him under suspension immediately thereafter on cooked up grounds.

One Bhimasen Jadav, suspended from SoPS for his illegalities, proclaiming himself as the chairman of the Samaja Board of Management wanted all employees to meet him in the evening of July 2, 2012. Sri Nayak being the President of the Trade Union of the employees had wanted to know if the known office bearers of the SoPS have handed over charges to him and his group and if he and his group have taken over the charges. This query irritated Sri Jadav and his group. As it was earlier known to everybody that Sri Jadav was suspended and removed, the employees thought it prudent to wait for any instruction from the known authority of SoPS, Vice-President Sri K.C.Tripathi, who, to everybody’s knowledge was functioning as Officiating President on being delegated with the functions.

Sri Tripathi in his Order dated 3 July 2012 addressed to all the employees, made it clear that, “No such Board of Management is in existence for Samaja”. And in the same order, Sri Tripathi called all employees to a meeting at 3 PM the same day in Gopabandhu Bhawan and advised all employees to remain present. Accordingly all employees had gone to the meeting and had taken his orders, that, no employee should obey any instruction of Jadav and his group.

After Sri Tripathi’s meeting was over, which all the employees had attended, S.C.Mantry, General Manager, issued an order of transfer of Sri Nayak from Cuttack to Kolkata in the guise of “exigencies of work” which was back dated 2nd July 2012. And, simultaneously, on the same day, i.e. 3rd July 2012, Sri Nayak was put under suspension “pending framing of formal charges” fixing his headqrs at Kolkata. On coming to know of this, the Officiating President of SoPS, Sri K.C.Tripathi cancelled all these orders by his order dated 3rd July 2012 and asked Mantry to go on leave.

Even as Sri Nayak had given a preliminary reply to the GM in his letter dated 25 July 2012, the Association in its communication No. 16/GS/12 dated 15.8.2012 besought Sri Tripathi’s opinion on the issue, as he was the known authority of SoPS.

Sri Tripathi, in his order dated August 20, 2012 directed the employees to “ignore” any order/instruction received from persons like S.C.Mantry/ Bhimsen Jadav/ Niranjan Rath/Manubhai Patel and any other posing as any manager or functionary of SoPS, as they are unauthorized persons.

The unauthorized persons have not yet been able to establish their legitimacy in the Court where Sri Tripathi’s case against them is pending. And hence, they have not created any legitimate environment for the Trade Union/employees to accept them as legitimate authorities to issue orders/instructions.

On the other hand, these unauthorized persons through hired hands as security personnel have obstructed Sri Nayak’s entry into his legitimate workplace in Gopabandhu Bhawan, Cuttack.

Worried because of such tactics of enforced idleness clamped on Sri Nayak, the Association moved the Labor law implementation authorities on 25.8.2012 vide their letter No. 19/GS/12 for intervention. The District Labor Officer, Cuttack in his order No. 4305 dated 31.8.2012, in forwarding a copy of the petition of the Employees Association, asked for the views of employer within seven days.

The General Manager who received the notice from the DLO is the same Sri Mantry who continues to keep the office of The Samaja in capture in blatant disobedience to the orders of the legitimate authority of SoPS, Sri K.C.Tripathy. In such circumstances, the DLO’s letter was perhaps suppressed from the employer and then the illegitimate occupiers of the Samaja appointed a man called C. R. Dash as enquiry officer to add a color of legality to the illegal orders issued by the name of the employer.

Sri Nayak attracted attention of the officiating President of SoPS to this and wanted his instruction in view of his order dated 20.8.2012. The officiating President of SoPS, Sri Tripathi, in his order dated 20.10.2012, informed that neither SoPS nor he has drawn any disciplinary proceeding against him as there was no allegation to draw up a disciplinary proceeding and also, there was no enquiry officer appointed. Hence he advised Sri Nayak to ignore the communication from the so-called enquiry officer.

Thus, without any legitimate authority, but in collusion with the illegitimate occupiers of The Samaja, Dash is holding the enquiry.

This Dash has, in collusion with the illegal occupiers of The Samaja, tarnished the public image of Sri Nayak through malicious advertisement in the Samaja dated 31. 10.2012 and is engaged in cultivating evidences against Sri Nayak, which is now clear from a complaint filed in Cantonment Police Station of Cuttack by an employee of the Samaja, who was forced by Dash to sign on dotted lines.

This complainant to Police is Machine man helper Sri Surendra Behera.

Behera, who works in the night, was summoned to the Office of the Samaja at about the noon on 3. 12.2012 by an assistant manager HR under a false plea of rectification of tax anomalies. After he reached the office, he was taken to the enquiry officer who forced him to receive a backdated summon to attend his court. The so-called enquiry officer then forced him to corroborate allegations against Sri Nayak which he refused. Then, under intimidation, he was asked to wait in the room to sign whatever dictation the enquiry officer was giving to a typist. Sri Behera refused to comply with this illegal order and reported the matter to Cantonment P.S., Cuttack, immediately thereafter on the same 3rd December 2012. The Police are yet to act.

Thus it is clear that the harassers of Nayak are cooking up a domestic enquiry to harass him further. The matter has been reported by the Secretary of the Employees Association to the District Labor Officer.

But the Labor Officer is yet to wake up, as is the Labor Commissioner in the matter of contravention of the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders ) Act, 1946 by the management of The Samaja.

Save ‘The Samaja’ Forum Demands for Salvaging the Paper from Servants of the People Society

The urge to stand with the people’s paper of Orissa – The Samaja – and to extricate it from the labyrinth of problems created by vested-interest members of the Servants of the People Society (SoPS), has given birth to ‘The Save The Samaja Forum’, said its joint conveners Subhas Chandra Pattanayak and Prasanta Patnaik, in a Press Conference at Bhubaneswar this evening.

They raised three issues of urgent public importance in their statement. We produce below the text:

Immediate Investigation needed into whether or not Gopabandhu’s will is fake.

The Samaja, the premier daily of Orissa, object of people’s emotional attachment as the carrier of Utkalmani’s memories, is in a devastative quagmire due to rampant corruption and internecine quarrels amongst members of SoPS, which has kept it under its illegal ownership since the sad demise of Pt. Gopabandhu Das.

During research, we have stumbled upon “an exact photo” of what is claimed to be the ‘will’ of Pt. Gopabandhu Das. But on examination we find that it does not carry Gopabandhu’s signature and therefore we suspect that it is a fake will.

Unless the will is proved to be genuine, it would no more be correct to accept the SoPS as owner of The Samaja.

So, we call upon the SoPS to make public the genuine will of Pt. Gopabandhu Das, if any, to convince the people of Orissa that it is in rightful occupation of the Samaja and the Press and properties thereof.

We urge upon the State Government to take over the Samaja and the Press and all its related and generated properties as unclaimed properties of Pt. Gopabandhu Das and to hand over the Samaja and the Press with necessary running capital to the registered association of journalists and non-journalist employees of the Samaja for continuation of the publication of the paper and to support the arrangement with necessary regulations.

We further call upon the Government, under such circumstances, to immediately treat the SoPS members as unauthorized trespassers and by debarring them from further handling with the funds and movable, immovable properties of the Samaja, to launch a CBI investigation into embezzlement of its funds so far and to take steps for recovery thereof.

CBI investigation needed into rampant loot of revenue of The Samaja

Investigations conducted by Dr. Nilakanth Rath had exposed huge financial irregularities when Dr. Radhanath Rath was at the helm of affairs. He had even exposed how the President of SoPS had misappropriated huge money through false records of medical treatment.

When the practice of corruption did not recede and several instances of misappropriation of the revenue generated by the paper were brought to focus by informed persons and despite police action against a once blue-eyed boy the SoPS leadership stayed untouched by the law, the impact thereof continued to create a free for all environment to indulge in embezzlement of the income of The Samaja. Intriguingly, the SoPS tried to suppress the rising discontentment over the economic offenses through a stage-managed inquiry. Accordingly, an inquiry committee was constituted under chairmanship of Justice Arijit Pasayat.

In his report, Pasayat, a trustee of SoPS, has shown how a life member of SoPS and some of the employees obviously led by him did their best to obstruct the investigation. Yet, despite evidences of huge misappropriation of the funds, and illegalities resorted to in various transactions, and corruption involving crores of rupees, the Pasayat Committee did not recommend either any means of recovery or penal prosecution. It seems, the Pasayat Committee has helped the offenders escape with the loot.

So, an investigation by the CBI into the rampant financial irregularities and embezzlements going on in The Samaja under the cover of the SoPS is unavoidably urgent.

The Save The Samaja Forum call upon the State Government to take over the Samaja management to facilitate such investigation.

Unfair Labour Practices Must be Interfered with

From cases registered in Police Stations and instituted in civil courts, it is clear that corruption sic passim, internecine quarrels and rivalry have divided the SoPS into two belligerent camps. With the help of a local life member in whose context the Pasayat Committee had used words like “his life-membership has to be terminated”, the fraction led by Manubhai Patel, who at the time of Dr. Radhanath Rath had taken huge money from The Samaja fund for his personal political electioneering in Gujarat – but had not returned the money despite repeated notices – has captured the Press and the Paper. This SoPS fraction, the locus standi of which has been challenged in police as well as civil cases instituted by the officiating President Kishor Chandra Tripathi, has resorted to acute unfair labour practices against the leaders of the Utkalmani Newspaper Employees Association by transferring its President to an outside of the State station and by arbitrarily reshuffling the active members of the Association / journalists and non-journalist employees in order only to create panic in them and to push them into pusillanimous conditions so as to enforce their hegemony on the newspaper set up.

The labour law implementation inspectors should have stopped this unfair practice; but they are seemingly overwhelmed by engagement of ex-IAS and IPS and IFS officers by this fraction in various positions in matter of the paper and thereby perhaps, the police is also browbeaten into silence. If this design is not defeated, it would so much demoralize the workforce that The Samaja can hardly be recovered from the injury inflicted upon it by the miscreants.

This Forum, therefore, calls upon the state government to immediately intervene in the matter and to save the paper from the unholy nexus of illegal occupiers and retired civil servants.
Subhas Chandra Pattanayak,
Prasanta Patnaik.
29 August 2012

POLICE IMPLICATES MEDIA PERSONS IN FALSE CASES TO PLEASE BHUSAN STEEL: MUFP

Media Unity for freedom of Press (MUFP) is worried over Orissa Police implicating working journalists in false cases to please the management of Bhusan steel Plant at Dhenkanal. The design is aimed at intimidating the Press in order to drive media away from highlighting the unfair labor practices of the industry that affects the workers as well as the harm it causes to living environment of the people.

We place below the MUFP statement:

The attacks on media persons in Odisha is now on the rise. The latest
example of a sinister attack against media professionals by the unholy
nexus between the industrial investors and administration is from Dhenkanal where Bhushan Steel Ltd, infamous for its unethical practices and extremely poor track record in safety standards has filed an FIR naming two committed local journalists for allegedly instigating its striking workers.

Two Dhenkanal-based journalists- Sri Pradeep Senapati of ETV and Sri Jayant Nath of the Sambad – who had been to the Bhushan Steel Plant on 3 February 2012 to cover a demonstration by its workers have been named as co-accused in an FIR filed by Bhushan management stating that they were among those who had instigated the workers to protest against the company.

The local police have already registered a case against them based on the Bhushan FIR and that means their arrest is only a matter of time.The local police is eager to pursue the fabricated FIR because they are hand in gloves with the company and also because they are equally perturbed by the pro-people reports filed by the two reporters in the past.

Bhushan may have reasons for its disappointment over the unwillingness of these reporters to play to their tunes in the last few years. But filing an FIR implicating them in a matter relating to workers’ agitation against the company has transgressed all limits of acceptable behavior.

The MUFP takes strong exception to such unwarranted aggression against
the media by Bhushan Steel Ltd and condemns the heinous attempt by a
private investor to muzzle and terrorise media persons. It also warns the company against any such attempts in future. Bhushan Steel Ltd must immediately delete the names of the two media persons from its false and fabricated FIR failing which the MUFP will be forced to take to agitational means across the state .

The MUFP also warns the state government against any move to protect
Bhushan Steel Ltd and its nasty attack on media persons.

MUFP will hold a protest meeting under the Freedom Tree in Bhubaneswar
at 11 am on Tuesday  (14 February 2012) if the Bhushan Steel Ltd and the state government fail to take remedial steps in the meanwhile.

For MEDIA UNITY FOR FREEDOM OF PRESS (MUFP ),
Prasanta Patnak,
Subhas Chandra Pattanayak,
Sampad Mohapatra,
Rabi Das,
D.N. Singh,
Gopal Mohaptra,
Sudhir Patnaik,
Dwijen Padhi.
Members of MUFP Presidium.