Finger-pointing ensues after IOCL seeks CBI probe into gangster Tito’s petrol pumps

Bhubaneswar: After the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) recommended a CBI probe into allotment of petrol pumps to gangster Tito; a flutter seems to have set in with political parties engaging in war of words by pointing fingers at each other.

While the ruling-BJD dragged Union Petroleum Minister, Dharmendra Pradhan into the issue raising a barrage of questions and demanded his resignation alleging links with Tito’s crime syndicate, BJP said the ruling party is visibly scared after a CBI probe has been ordered.

BJD spokesperson Pratap Deb today sought answers on when IOCL authorities came to know about the irregularities in allotment of fuel outlets to Tito and whether the Union Minister was aware of such irregularities or not.

“Questions are being raised as to why no action was taken when irregularities were found in allotment. Besides, will the central investigating agency probe this one instance or more such cases will be included? Is the probe meant to shield someone?” Deb asked.

“Links between the crime syndicate and the Union Minister are coming to fore. If he (Pradhan) wants to play politics on the lines of Bihar, I am of the opinion that he should resign on moral grounds,” he added.

Rejecting the charges and showing a picture of Tito’s brothers joining BJD, BJP spokesperson Pitambar Acharya said “Under the patronage of MP Pratap Deb, former minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak and Kendrapara legislator Kishore Tarai, Tito was running criminal activities in the district.”

On the other hand, Opposition leader Narasingha Mishra said the central agency is playing the dual role of shielding politicians apart from investigating cases.

“Is the CBI trying to shield any politician or nab actual culprit? How a person with criminal background managed to get a petrol pump?” Mishra asked.

Earlier in the day, IOCL CGM, Pritish Bharat said that the Petroleum Ministry advised IOCL to hand over the case to CBI.

“We accept that there were faults in allotment.” Bharat said. However, he ruled out any political links.