Devbrat Patnaik

Bhubaneswar: The investigation into the alleged corrupt activities by Panigrahis and Pathaks is underway, with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik recently referring the case to Odisha Lokayukta for a detailed probe. Now, days after being pulled up by MLA Pradeep Panigrahi’s wife Sujata, senior BJD leader Arup Patnaik has finally opened up about the allegations against him, of boarding a charter flight with Akash Pathak earlier in July this year.

Lashing out at BJD’s charge of anti-people activities against Pradeep Panigrahi, wife Sujata had levelled accusations against Arup claiming that he too had boarded the charter flight with Akash Pathak, son of ‘suspended’ senior Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer Abhaykant Pathak.

“Arup Patnaik had boarded the charter flight with Akash Pathak on July 11 to Pune. While Pathak disembarked at Pune, Patnaik alone had flown to Mumbai in the same chartered flight. Arup boarding chartered flight is not anti-people, but my husband (Pradeep) doing so has been branded as anti-people. Is this not double standard?” she had retorted.

Significantly in his response, Arup Patnaik did not completely disagree on flying in the charter flight. "A few channels aired the news for 2-3 days. There might be some truth in this given that such big channels had telecast it," said the cop-turned-politician who is currently heading Mo-Parivar, a pet programme of CM Naveen.

On allegations that he had boarded the charter flight with Akash Pathak, the BJD leader chose to refrain from making any comments. “It might be true but I don’t have anything to say right now. I would not comment on the matter as the case is under investigation,” Patnaik said.

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