Himansu Shekhar Rout

Even as the IT department intensified its raids and probe on liquor traders in Odisha, politics over the matter has intensified. A blame game has started between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD), and the Congress over the issue.     

After the seizure of huge amounts of cash from the liquor units and premises of the liquor traders linked to Jharkhand MP Dhiraj Sahu and his associates, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan warned that the Modi government at the Centre will not spare anyone no matter whoever is involved in the murky liquor business and however powerful they may be. 

“Those who are looting the money of the poor will be put behind bars. Names of some people are coming up. The distillery company belongs to a senior Congress leader, who has been doing his liquor business in Odisha for a long time,” he added.

Making an oblique reference to the top Congress leaders, who have been quiet on the issue, Pradhan said that those who have their lips pursed have to speak out on the issue. 

On the other hand, senior Congress leader, Sura Rourtay referring to Dhiraj Shau, candidly said, “He gives funding to all parties in the country including the BJP, the BJD and Congress and even the parties in Bihar. Many leaders in Odisha receive funding from him. He has also helped many institutions financially.”

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He demanded a CBI inquiry into the cash seizures. If that is not possible, a judicial inquiry should be considered, Routray added.

Speaking on the issue, BJD leader Umakant Samantaray said, “Everybody knows that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik never tolerates injustice. He has not spared anyone even if they are ministers or leaders of his own party. The BJP is making a fuss.”

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