No harm in removing Pandian on moral grounds: Damodar Rout

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Bhubaneswar: A day after few BJP activists resorted to vandalism at the official residence of Chief Minister’s private secretary VK Pandian, former BJD Minister Damodar Rout said that there is no harm in removing the bureaucrat on moral grounds if there are allegations against him.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has set precedent of removing people on moral grounds so there’s nothing wrong in removing Pandian if there are allegations against him, said Rout adding that he was also removed from his ministerial post in a similar fashion.

“If there are allegations against an officer under him (CM), what is the problem in removing him even if the news are sponspored? I was also removed from my position over a communal issue,” he said.

However, Rout condemned the attack on Pandian’s residence saying that power has gone to the head of BJP.

In another development, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan also lambasted Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik  for trying to shield his private secretary VK Pandian.

While talking on the sidelines during campaigning for BJP’s candidate for Bijepur bypoll today, Pradhan questioned why has the CM come in defence of his officer now while he had kept mum over similar incidents in the past.

“The Chief Minister and his party have condemned the attack but why was he silent during three similar incidents that had occurred in 2017. Why the Chief Minister and the officers’ bodies were silent after mob ransacked the residence of IAS officer Rashmita Panda, Sanjay Singh and when few people stormed into the residence of the then Minister Damodar Rout,” he said.

Without naming bureaucrats, Pradhan stated that those who are interested in politics should resign from their post and enter the field. He warned the bureaucrats not to get involved in politics while drawing salary from the hard earned money of people of Odisha. The assumption that they will not face any protest is wrong, he added.

However, the Union Minister also condemned the attack on Pandian’s residence saying, “Protest in a democratic system is not improper but some principles should be maintained. If some youth members of my party have done something illegal they should be punished as per law.

Earlier on Saturday, some members of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) had ransacked the residence of Pandian. Shouting slogans against him, they barged into his residence, damaged flower pots and several bikes. They also threw cow dung on the wall and the main gate of the house.

Four BJP activists were arrested in connection with the attack and were booked under 10 sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) including section 307 (attempt to murder).

The arrested workers -Jugal Jyoti Swain, Rasmiranjan Muduli, Bibhuti Bhushan Prusty and Biswabhushan Badjena- were sent to Jharpada special jail after their bail petitions were rejected by SDJM court in Bhubaneswar.

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