Dama Rout refutes statement of Dharmendra Pradhan

Bhubaneswar: Former Agriculture Minister Damodar Rout today refuted the claims of Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who on Saturday had stated that the senior BJD leader had to pay a price for being vocal about the corruption that spreads till the third floor of the State Secretariat.

“Dama Babu had said in Rayagada that the trail of corruption in Soil Conservation Department is spread till third floor which houses the CMO. That is the only reason for which he had to pay such a heavy price,” Pradhan had said.

Responding to this statement, Rout said, Dharmendra Pradhan is a Union Minister of BJP. But Odisha has BJD rule. “How will he know about the administrative proceedings in the State!” questioned Rout.

He denied giving any such remarks about corruption during his visit to Rayagada, saying, “Ministers hold discussions with officials of the department after district visits. Other than that I have not said anything to anyone or given any probe order.”

Rout said that he only inquired about the progress of the three departments – Agriculture, Soil Conservation and Horticulture – in presence of the ADM, Sub Collector and other officials.

“No such incident has occurred there and I cannot say if anyone has informed Dharmendra Babu about such happenings in the department,” he added.

The former Agriculture Minister further said, “A minister takes a vow of secrecy and does not disclose any decision taken or any order passed, before public. No such thing has happened in Rayagada that has any similarity with the statement of Pradhan.”

Earlier on Saturday, Pradhan said that if anyone from BJD raises a finger at the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO), they bear the brunt.