Vikash Sharma

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Sunday targetted Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik by raising several questions on the law and order situation in the state in the backdrop of the recent murder of health minister Naba Das in broad daylight.

While addressing the press in Bhubaneswar, Pradhan alleged that the basic foundation of the ongoing investigation in the Naba Das case is wrong.

"The appointment of the retired HC judge has not been as per the Commission Act and his rights have not been clearly defined as well," he said.

Pradhan also termed Odisha DGP Sunil Bansal's statements that Naba Das' murder was one of its kind incidents and only Lord Jagannath could have known it, as 'unfortunate.'

"There is absolutely no place for violence in democracy. But unfortunately nobody has any answer why the police personnel (now dismissed) was forced to shot the minister from a point blank range. And, the DGP’s statement that only Lord Jagannath knows, speaks volumes about the law and order situation in the state. The DGP is trying to escape by taking the name of Lord Jagannath which is totally unacceptable," said Pradhan.

Who is running the government?

According to Pradhan, there is lawlessness in Odisha; and after watching several videos, people are now questioning as to who is actually running the government in the state. The Union Minister also highlighted three sensitive cases-- Mahanaga double murder case, Ananda Toppo case and a girl's allegations against BJD MLA Bijay Shankar Das. In all the three cases, the Court had to intervene and direct investigation and registration of cases.

"Such incidents clearly suggest that law and order in Odisha has failed. The Chief Minister needs to take up responsibility and respect the people's mandate. You (ruling BJD) have only been given responsibility, and not the authority to treat it as your property," said Pradhan.

Be it Naba Das murder, or the recent attack on Balasore Sub-Collector and other such cases, the law and order situation has gone for a toss here. If such incidents can happen to a high-profile cabinet minister or a Sub-Collector, one can imagine what could be the condition of a common man, said Pradhan.

"The law enforcement agencies are not discharging their prime role well. There should be an Independent Inquiry into the Naba Das murder case. However, it seems that the government is not at all serious about it even though several questions remain unanswered. Being a responsible Opposition, BJP will create mass awareness on these issues," Pradhan added.

Responding to the allegations levelled by the Opposition, senior BJD leader Sashi Bhusan Behera said, "Whenever such incident happens, the state government takes appropriate action and in this case also there has been no negligence as far as investigation is concerned. The government is also alert to the situation and efforts are on to ensure that such incidents do not recur."

(Reported by Harihar Chand)

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