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Dilip Kumar

Bhubaneswar: Former Minister and MLA from Gopalpur Assembly constituency Pradeep Panigrahi has been expelled from the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) for ‘anti-people’ activities.

The party informed the development through a press release which stated “Dr Pradeep Panigrahi, MLA.. Gopalpur is expelled from primary membership of the party with immediate effect for his anti-people activities.”

Panigrahi was embroiled in controversy ever since he came in touch with the tainted IFS officer Abhay Pathak who was arrested by the vigilance on the charges of amassing assets worth crores disproportionate to their known sources of income.

According to reports, Panigrahi was going to marry off her daughter with the son of Abhay Pathak. All arrangements for the grand event had also reached the final stage.

Welcoming party action against Panigrahi, BJD president of Ganjam and former MLA Ramesh Chandra Chau Patnaik justified the expulsion.

Chau Patnaik said “Panigrahi's to-be son-in-law Akash Pathak who is the son of taintetd IFS officer Abhay, has duped many youths on the false promise of giving them job in his Pune-based company. Such fraud can't be executed without political patronage. So, the MLA's role in the entire episode is well envisaged. The people in his own constituency were also not happy on him for his anti-people activities."

Panigrahi, on the other hand, refuted the allegations of anti-people activities. "I am not involved in anti-people works. The party should come out with a clarification on my involvement in anti-people activities," he said urging the journalists to investigate the allegations levelled against him.

The legislator further added that his 20 years of political carrier is completely clean. "During the last general elections, I was given the task of 15 Assembly seats out of which party emerged victorious in 12. I was also accused of siphoning off the party’s election funds. But, I challenge those who have made such allegations should provide concrete evidence", Panigrahi added.

Raising the illegal sand and stone quarry operations in Ganjam, he clarified that he has not received a single penny from any mafia. Panigrahi maintained that he has no links with any of the liquor shop owner even though 80 shops are operating in the districts.

Meanwhile, Opposition BJP termed the development as a ploy of BJD to divert public attention from the ‘Pari’ murder Issue. Deputy Leader of Opposition in Odisha Assembly Bishnu Sethi said “" It is a ploy of BJD to divert the attention of public from Pari' murder case. The BJD is trying to protect the accused in the sensational murder of a five-year-old girl.”

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