Lent vehicles for 2014 campaign, says AT chief

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Bhubaneswar: A day after senior Congress leader Lalatendu Bidyadhar (Lulu) Mohapatra made a thinly veiled attack on Food and Civil Supplies minister Sanjay Dasburma accusing him of using a Pajero SUV gifted by Artha Tatwa (AT) chit fund company, AT chief Pradip Sethi on Friday said he is yet to receive some of his vehicles used in electioneering in 2014.

During his routine appearance at a court here today, Sethi told media, “During the 2014 election, I was requested by some political leaders to lend some vehicles. Many of these have not returned to me.”

Just when he was asked to name the leaders, he was promptly whisked away by the police.

Sethi, however, clarified that the vehicles had only been given for campaigning and not ‘gifted’. He declined to speak about the vehicles in greater detail saying the matter was sub judice.

Though it is too early to link Mohapatra’s accusation with Sethi’s statement regarding the vehicles, it is for the investigating agency to dig out the truth.

But, going by the affidavit submitted by Sethi in the court, he has mentioned that a Pajero SUV, which was purchased by him from the company’s bank account, is with Sanjay Dasburma.

Without naming Dasburma, Mohapatra had said yesterday, “A 53-year-old BJD leader and the president of Biju Yuva Janata Dal, who is in charge of two important portfolios, and whom I call him Rengoon as I don’t like to utter the name of this dacoit and a blacklisted builder, who was gifted with a Pajero SUV by the chief of AT Group of companies Pradip Sethi. I want to ask the police what action has it taken against this BJD leader and where is that Pajero SUV? I have seen that SUV, which later disappeared from Odisha”.

He flayed the chief minister and the State police for not taking action against Dasburma, who he alleged is involved in the mega AT chit fund scam.

Reacting to the charge, the minister said, “His (Lulu’s) allegations are baseless and a proof of his foolishness. If he has the guts, let him prove his allegations, I will retire from politics. By bringing such false allegations he has again proved himself to be a deplorable person.”

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