Coal Block allocation case: Pradhan’s poser to Naveen, BJD counters

Bhubaneswar: In the run-up to the crucial polls, the leaders of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and ruling-Biju Janata Dal (BJD) engaged in war of words over Naveen Patnaik’s role in coal block allocation. Hitting out at BJD supremo and Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan today stated that the people of the State want to know about Naveen’s role in the entire episode.

Citing an FIR of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Pradhan at a presser today, alleged that coal blocks were allocated to sham companies when Naveen was the Union Mines minister.

Pradhan posed three questions to Naveen in connection with the coal block allocation case.

“Who is GD Daga and how coal blocks were allocated to a company much before it was registered? The CM must clarify whether CBI had him and why he has not mentioned this case in the affidavits filed by him during nomination for the upcoming elections?” said Pradhan.

According to Pradhan, Naveen during his tenure as Coal Minister, allocated coal block to a ‘ghost’ company in April 1998. Notably, the company was registered in 1999.

Though BJD did not comment on the Union Minister’s allegations, party spokesperson Sasmit Patra tried to corner the BJP by asking nine questions to Pradhan.

At a presser, Patra stated that “The Union Minister should clarify his links with Sudhir Sharma, the main accused in Vyapam scam, gangster Tito and his role in the Chhatrapur councillor Laxmidatta Pradhan murder case.”