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Kendrapara BJD leader refutes involvement in paddy procurement scam

Kendrapara: Senior BJD leader and Kendrapara district president Dhruba Sahoo on Tuesday refuted the allegations brought in by Congress MLA from Rajnagar Anshuman Mohanty stating that he is in no way involved in the 2015-16 paddy procurement scam. Sahoo also targeted OTV for telecasting the news and also dragged MP Baijayant Panda’s name into the matter.

Addressing a presser, Sahoo said that the allegations brought in by Mohanty are false and baseless; and also alleged that OTV telecasted the news with political motives.

“The news against me was telecast taking into account the allegations of the Rajnagar MLA. However, Mohanty’s allegations are just baseless. Rather, he along with the miller and the manager of the Marketing Federation Limited (Markfed) here, looted crores of money in the name of ‘ghost farmers’,” Sahoo said.

On the other hand, Mohanty responded to Sahoo’s allegations saying “I am the person who brought the allegation against Sahoo, but now he is trying to drag my name into the scam. I have even written to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik twice and appraised him about the corruption in the procurement unit in the district. The CM also took action and an investigation into the matter is on.”

“OTV is the first news channel that exposed the scam. Sahoo today levelled these allegations against OTV only because of the ongoing rift within the BJD. Everything will be cleared once the investigation concludes,” the legislator added.

Major irregularities in procurement of paddy in Kendrapara in 2015-16 were reported and as per allegations, a list of fake beneficiaries was prepared by Sahoo. Such discrepancies were spotted then by the Markfed manager who brought it to the notice of his higher-ups.

However during the press conference, when Sahoo was shown the related documents and questioned, he was visibly flustered and even shouted standing up from his seat. He didn’t answer all the questions and even walked out of the press conference.

Moreover, Sahoo was even more agitated when he was shown that his signature in the press release today was matching with the signatures that were there in the documents submitted by Markfed authorities.

Here the question arises, why is Sahoo lying by terming the documents produced by the Markfed official as fake? Or, is he just trying to wipe out the allegations against him by putting the blame on the media?

“I found irregularities in paddy procurement to the tune of Rs 3 crore after joining Markfed. There was involvement of some local people. I have informed everything to the head office,” said Akshya Mohapatra, former Markfed manager, Kendrapara.

While reacting to Mohapatra’s comment, Sahoo said “a manager who is an accused can say anything.”

While Vigilance investigation into the alleged paddy procurement scam is already on, the question here is that is the investigating agency staying clear of Sahoo as the BJD is in power and he is the district president of the party.

OTV’s Clarification:

The allegations brought in by Dhruba Sahoo against OTV are baseless.

The news on paddy procurement irregularities in Kendrapara telecasted by OTV on April 8 was based on the allegations of the Rajnagar MLA who wrote to the vigilance and Odisha Chief Minister twice and later the Cooperation department ordered an investigation into the scam.

An independent audit related to the alleged scam was done and the Vigilance is investigating the matter for the last 10 months. Besides, former Markfed manager Akshya Mohapatra had also informed about paddy being procured through middlemen.

OTV had taken the statement of Dhruba Sahoo on the matter and telecasted the news without any bias. We analysed every aspect of the news and gave importance to everyone involved.

Moreover, OTV strongly refutes allegations of Sahoo that MP Baijayant Panda thorough his family-owned OTV is trying to defame him.

We want to reiterate that MP Panda has no role in OTV’s editorial decisions. OTV has been impartial and neutral in its news telecast and it strictly abides by the guidelines of free, fair & unbiased reporting laid down by its charter.

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