Samals statement on Kandhamal incorrect: Naveen

Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday dubbed as "false", allegations of a former minister that the BJD chief had ignored his advice on the volatile situation in Kandhamal during the 2008 riots, even as the BJP leader levelled fresh charges against him.

"What he said is not correct. This is a false allegation," Patnaik told reporters while reacting to BJP leader Manmohan Samal`s statement before Justice S C Mohapatra commission of inquiry on the violence.

While deposing before the commission yesterday, Samal had alleged that Patnaik did not pay any heed to his advice and failed to take appropriate steps to avoid the violence in which at least 38 people were killed.

Meanwhile, Samal made fresh charges against Patnaik and said "if I am incorrect, then let the chief minister tell what is correct… He (Patnaik) is free to speak the correct things about the riot".

The BJP leader, who was cross-examined by advocates at the commission today, said the killing of VHP leader Laxamananda Saraswati had triggered the violence.

"Had chief minister acted promptly and provided adequate security to Saraswati, he would not have been killed," Samal said and accused Patnaik of failing to augment Saraswati`s security even after an FIR was filed at the local police station showing threat perception for the VHP leader.

The state government also did not activate the CRPF operation in Kandhamal area some days before Saraswati`s killing, Samal alleged.

Though CRPF jawans were in a camp at Tumudibandha, barely some kilometers from Saraswati`s ashram, they were not activated as their deployment duration had expired.

"I had told the chief minister several times to make CRPF operational. But the state government did not take any action in this regard," Samal said.

He also claimed that Saraswati`s personal security officer (PSO) was changed and the new PSO was on leave on August 25, 2008, the day on which the VHP leader was killed.

"Chief minister must tell the commission about the reason of not operating CRPF, change of Saraswati`s PSO and his mysterious absence on the day of killing," Samal told reporters outside the commission`s office.