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Naveen loves gold, Odisha Ministers fida on high-end 4-wheelers!

The assets of Odisha cabinet released on Tuesday put a glare on financial dealings of Ministers. While Naveen values gold more than 4-wheelers, his cabinet colleagues on an average have two high-end 4-wheelers. Naba Das, the 'revolver' minister

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Bhubaneswar:  Despite being a bachelor, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has a fascination for the yellow metal than 4-wheelers. When he owns jewellery valued at Rs 2.21lakh, CM owns a 1980-model Ambassador car worth mere Rs 8,905.

The moot point here is why CM has a fond for jewellery?

Consider this. Between the year 2015 and 2019, the worth of his 1980 model Ambassador was down by nearly 50 per cent to Rs 8,905 from Rs 17,000 in 2014-15; whereas worth of gold Naveen owns has risen by nearly 17 per cent.

This shows Patnaik is a shrewd investor. Because, the maxim is except gold and real estate, economic value of other goods always record depreciation.

A look at the balance-sheet of CM Naveen Patnaik shows how CM has grown richer by Rs 15 crore in year 2019.

As per self-declaration of assets made by CM, despite personal bank accounts of CM in Bhubaneswar and New Delhi having recorded a fund depletion by nearly 6 lakhs, accounts opened for 2019 elections in Hinjlicut and Baragarh saw huge deposits worth Rs 19.51 lakh and Rs 20.02 lakh, respectively.

In contrast, during 2014 elections, when Naveen had been a candidate from Hinjlicut only, the deposits in the election purpose account then stood at mere Rs 5,553.

As a consequence, in the final balance-sheet, Naveen’s bank balance in 2018-19 had grown by a whopping Rs 13 lakh or 48 per cent up vis-a-vis 2017-18.

Similarly, Chief Minister’s immovable properties like a farmland in Faridabad and his share in ancestral properties like Naveen Niwas and a house at New Delhi et al had seen a good appreciation. The value of immovable properties rose by around 30 per cent.

Now, when contrasted with his cabinet colleagues, it was found that his ministerial colleagues are simply ‘fida’ on 4-wheelers, besides having a high stake in gold and real estate.

Sample this. Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari owns two latest model 4-wheelers – Maruti Suzuki’s SwiftDzire and Toyota’s Innova. And owned jewellery worth Rs 38.68 lakh.

Law Minister Pratap Jena owns a jewellery worth Rs 25 lakh. But his assets leave an ambiguity over owning any vehicle.

Another high profile minister, Arun Sahoo owns two 4-wheelers – Swift Dzire and Innova VX. Significantly, the fleet of 4-wheelers are brand new additions. Because, in 2016, Minister Sahoo owned only a Chevrolet Travera.

Regarding jewellery, Minister’s jewellery worth grew from 11.38lakh in 2016 to Rs 14.88 lakh in 2019.

Parliamentary Minister Bikram Arukha’s assets has a high ‘gold’ content. And the only senior minister to declare that he has liabilities.

School and Mass Education Minister Samir Ranjan Dash owns two 4-wheelers – Toyota Fortuner and Maruti Swift.

A very significant point here is, when none of the ministers has disclosed about source of 4-wheeler fleets owned, Tourism Minister Ashok Chandra Panda and WCD Minister Tukuni Sahoo did the needful.

Panda indicates that the source of fund for his Innova is sale amount of an old Scorpio at Rs 4 lakh and bank loan worth Rs 10 lakh.

Steel and Mines Minister Prafulla Mallick assets shows he owns a lap-top worth Rs 1.05 lakh, which has been gifted by OLA. Interestingly, when the Mines minister has detailed owning two TV sets in his Assets, not a hint on 4-wheelers or 2-wheelers there.

Energy Minister Dibya Mishra owned two 4-wheerers – Innova and Tata Zest

The funniest revelation is Health Minister Naba Das is the only minister in Naveen’s cabinet to own fire arms – revolvers, rifles et al. Besides, he owns a posh fleet of 4-wheelers.

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