RTI activist misses target as BJP exposes ‘sponsored’ press meet

Bhubaneswar: Barely two days after former Parliamentarian Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda joined the BJP, unwarranted attempts were made to defame the senior leader. Bhupendra Singh Patel, a self-proclaimed investigative journalist who also claims himself to be an RTI activist, today organised a press meet at the Odisha Press Club in Bhubaneswar and leveled allegations of money laundering and tax evasion by the former MP while stating that three companies in Bahamas are closely associated with Panda.

Patel alleged that no action has been taken against Jay Panda despite having lodged complaints with the PMO, CBI, ED, SIT and MAG.

However, Patel was clueless and had no answers when he was asked by the media on why did he choose Bhubaneswar and not Delhi to hold this press conference. The activist further accepted that he has never tried to get a response from any of the persons named by him as the ‘accused’.

Responding to this, BJP spokesperson Pitambar Acharya said that Patel was brought to Odisha by VK Pandian (private secretary to Odisha CM) and he had sponsored the press meet. “This was a sponsored press meet. Similar allegations were leveled last February, and former MP Baijayant Panda had given a clarification in website while refuting the allegations. Patel is himself an accused who has business links with the son of Ajit Jogi. In 2005, the SC had also passed stricture against Patel. This press meet was a conspiracy of Pandian to malign the image of Jay Panda. They will not succeed in their motive and people of Odisha will give a befitting reply.”

Last month, a national newspaper had brought allegations of income tax irregularities and money laundering against Baijayant Panda.

However, strongly refuting the allegations then, Panda had stated, “I have no account in Bahamas, neither do any of our family companies. For 60 years, various family companies have done business dealings all over the world. These dealings are all through official channels and with intimation and approval of concerned authorities like RBI etc and are in the public domain.”