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Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Waging his relentless attack on his arch-rival and BJD minister Sanjay Dasburma, senior Congress leader Lalatendu (Lulu) Bidyadhar Mohapatra on Sunday brought another charge against him to substantiate his close link with the Artha Tatwa (AT) Group, a chit fund company.

Displaying a photograph wherein Dasburma is found sitting with a person inside a hotel in Puri, Lulu asked the media persons to identify these two persons.

Without uttering their name, Mahapatra said while one of them is presently lodged in the Jharpada jail in Bhubaneswar, another is hiding in his house.

“Who had paid the hotel bill of these two persons? If the person, who is in charge of the BJD youth wing and who has destroyed the lives of 20 lakh people of Odisha, has the guts, let him answer to my questions. Besides, I sincerely request the frontline leaders of the Biju Yuva Janata Dal, who had burnt my effigy and pleaded for my arrest to the Director General of Police, to kindly tell their leader to answer to my questions,” he added.

Although Mahapatra did not tell the name of the person sitting beside Dasburma in Holiday Resort, he, however, said the photo of these two persons was taken in April, 2014, two weeks before the Assembly elections in the state.

“It was on the same day the police had raided this hotel in the presence of an election observer as per the directive of the Election Commission and seized about five percent cash while the rest amount was taken out of the hotel clandestinely,” he informed.

Asked about the link between the BJD minister and the person who is inside the jail, Mahapatra said both of them have patronised chit fund activities in the state and through them, the BJD has fought the elections with the chit fund money.

He also said besides these two, there were other persons involved in the AT Group. This team was working as a facilitator between the AT Group and the BJD.

To a question on whether the chief minister is aware of this matter, he said the chief minister is well aware of the matter. But he has not opened his mouth till date. “While the dumb chief minister is now in Delhi, his colleague is hiding in his house,” Mahapatra said.

Replying to the media on the statement of Mahapatra and the photo he has given to the media, BJD spokesperson Amar Prasad Satpathy said not only this photo, there are other photos which have been circulated in the media.

He said the media knows very well about the leaders whose photos have been found with the Dhalasamant brothers. Hence it is difficult to establish link with someone through these photos. If the allegations have authentic evidence, then it will be brought under the purview of investigation.

Replying to Mohapatra’s claim on the involvement of the BJD minister (Dasburma), Satpathy said if the photo shown by the Congress leader to the media dates back to April, 2014, why he had remained silent since long and why he has raised the matter now.

“Let the CBI, which is probing into the chit fund scam, should be given the time and scope to probe into the scam impartially. But the way the issues are being raised, it seems that attempts are being made to influence the investigation.

On the other hand, there was a sudden change of stance of the BJD leader Damodar Rout on this issue. Rout, who had gone critical in his statement on Dasburma recently, took the side of his party colleague.

“Lulu Mahapatra and Sanjay Dasburma belong to two political parties. Both of them are contesting from Brahmagiri constituency. If Lulu is trying to defame Dasburma by furnishing such information to the media, he is not doing the right thing. If he has any conclusive evidence against Dasburma, why he is not giving it to the CBI which is presently investigating into the chit fund scam? If such allegations and counter allegations take place, there is a strong possibility that the investigation might be affected. In my view, attempts are being made to defame Dasburma without any decisive evidence against him,” Rout told media persons here.

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