Ruckus in Assly over collector abduction case

Bhubaneswar: Dubbing abduction of Malkangiri Collector, R Vineel Krishna by Maoists as a "well planned drama", Opposition Congress on Tuesday demanded a CBI probe into the incident leading to a ruckus in the Assembly.

"We demand a CBI probe into the abduction of Malkangiri District Collector R Vineel Krishna and junior engineer Pabitra Majhi as it appeared a well planned drama to divert attention from the multi-crore dal scam," Congress chief whip Prasad Harichandan said while initiating the debate on an adjournment motion on the issue.

Krishna`s abduction took place on February 16 when the state government was pushed to a corner over the dal scam, Harichandan said adding that the young IAS officer was released coinciding with end of first phase of the budget session on February 24 evening.

"This is one of the reasons as to why abduction appeared to be a drama managed by the ruling BJD leaders," Harichandan said.

Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik, who is in-charge of the home department, rejected the demand for a CBI probe into the matter claiming that the incident was being investigated by the state police in a transparent manner.

"Therefore, there is no justification of a CBI probe into the incident," Patnaik said adding that it was a sensitive matter relating to lives of two persons.

Asking Opposition parties not to derive political mileage from the incident, Patnaik said "it was not a drama.

The officials were kidnapped while on the field. It was an unfortunate incident."
The chief minister also said that there was no intelligence input from any agency on the abduction of the collector.

Referring to the Maoists` demands on the release of the two government officials, the chief minister said "they (Maoists) had stated that their demands should be fulfilled within 48 hours otherwise the collector and the junior engineer would be killed."

The Maoists had also issued a warning that if any attempt was made to rescue the collector by force, he would be killed, Patnaik told the legislators who accused the government of being soft towards the ultras.

Congress MLA from Malkangiri district, Mamata Madhi questioned "if Krishna was abducted, how could he contact his family members and others from Maoists` captivity over telephone?"

This apart, Madhi said, the collector`s family had sent essential items like shaving kit, dry-fruits to Krishna in the jungle. "How would the Maoists allow him to speak over phone and arrange essentials for him," she wondered.

When the junior engineer`s family members were worried over his abduction, there was apparently no fear and anxiety in the collector`s family, she said.

Stating that the abductors and the collector hailed from Andhra Pradesh, she said the Maoists demanded release of some Andhra based cadres among others.

"What is the relation between the collector`s family and the Maoists," Madhi asked adding she had been informed that some of the mediators were also linked to Krishna.

Though the chief minister replied to questions made by Harichandan, he was silent on the queries made by Madhi and another Congress member Anup Sai who demanded an explanation from the IAS officer.

BJP supported independent MLA, Pratap Sarangi said the entire state had to pay a heavy price due to the "foolishness" of the collector.

But, the ruling BJD members defended the government`s action in handling the hostage crisis.