Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Gopalpur MLA Pradeep Panigrahi, who has been expelled from the ruling BJD, took a dig at Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s office on Monday.

“A gang of five has been looting the State. The Chief Minister’s office has turned into the epicentre of corruption. It has become the centre of conspiracy and counter-conspiracy. The officers of the CMO are involved in corruption. The biggest scam is happening in the recruitment of OPSC, SSC chairpersons, and members,” said Panigrahi.

“The constable recruitment scam first started in 2002-2003 and there were allegations against senior officers at that time. An inquiry was initiated into the matter. However, no action was taken against them and they ran away from the country. Corruption starts from the Chief Minister’s office. However, others are accused of it,” he added.

Panigrahi also questioned why a special committee is not being formed in the Assembly to look into the recruitment scam.

As per Panigrahi, the law is not taking its own course right now; rather it is being bent to serve vested interests.

“Why no action is being taken against BJD leaders having their names in vigilance charge sheets and for involvement in Crime Branch cases? Why there are double standards? The Chief Minister always says law will take its own course. However, Sir, you are modifying the law for your own interests and not for the interests of the general public,” said Panigrahi.

He also put a question mark over the source of funding to the BJD.

“Rs 622 crore has been deposited as BJD’s party funds from 2017-2022. Though Odisha is a poor state, BJD has received the second-highest funding. From where so much money is coming from? It was not happening earlier. What is the secret? The general people of Odisha will greatly benefit by knowing the source of this money. You are saying to alleviate poverty in the State by implementing various schemes. However, all of your schemes have become scams” said Panigrahi.

On being asked about the probability of him joining the BJP, Panigrahi said he has not taken the decision yet in this regard.

“From where did BJD get the news that I had been to Delhi and met BJP leaders? They are only beating around the bush and killing precious time of me and the general public. Why such fear? Those who are wrong fear the most,” he added.

Meanwhile, responding to Panigrahi’s allegations, BJD's Ganjam district president, Ramesh Chandra Chyau Patnaik said, “The Chief Minister never entertains corruption. Whoever indulged in corruption, action has been taken. Naveen Patnaik is the best Chief Minister because of transparency. With his blessing, Pradeep Panigrahi has become an MLA, Minister and the district president. Nobody will accept his allegations against the Chief Minister now. He is bringing these kinds of allegations only to defend him.”

“BJD is not at all afraid if Panigrahi joins any other party. Earlier, BJP and Congress had criticised Panigrahi when he was found involved in corruption. We are warning them again not to accept an anti-social person who pocketed crores of rupees through corrupt means by misusing his power,” he added.