Tremors of CBI-Mamata standoff felt in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: Even though the on-going standoff between Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is restricted to Kolkata, its heat was today felt in Odisha. Opposition parties trained their guns on Biju Janata Dal (BJD) for coming to the defence of Mamata Banerjee and criticising CBI.

The Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) accused the BJD of ‘double standards’ alleging that the ruling party in Odisha, on one hand claims to have distanced from the ‘Mahagathbandhan,’ while on the other, it is taking sides with Mamata Banerjee on the CBI issue.

BJD, earlier today, said the conduct of CBI smacks of unprofessionalism. The statements came a day after the central investigation agency’s attempts to quiz Kolkata Police Commissioner, Rajeev Kumar in connection with the chit fund scam was thwarted by police.

“The manner in which CBI has been functioning over the last few months, does not show professionalism. This is the reason why the CBI is facing such criticism today,” said BJD MP Bhartruhari Mahtab in Parliament today.

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan was quick to train guns on Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik following Bhartruhari’s statements.

“Be it Mamata’s TMC or Naveen’s BJD, the leaders benefitted from the chit fund scam. The CBI is probing the chit fund scam based on Supreme Court order. Those who have looted people’s money will be punished,” said Pradhan.

BJD’s stand on this issue has certainly raised several eyebrows. Speculations are rife that BJD’s is somewhat sacred of the CBI as the agency recently issued summons to two of its MLAs- Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak and Arun Sahoo in connection with the Seashore chit fund scam.

“As they are scared, BJD is opposing the CBI, but they are not supporting Mamata Banerjee, which clearly shows double standards. BJD is just trying to oppose CBI to stop similar raids in Odisha and summons to its party leaders,” said Opposition party chief whip and senior Congress leader Tara Prasad Bahinipati.

“Several MPs and MLAs both in West Bengal and Odisha are involved and some of them have been arrested in the past,” said former Odisha DGP, Gopal Nanda.

Following criticism, BJD, later in the day, clarified that “Based on media reports on CBI issue, BJD would like to clarify that the statement by BJD on CBI is in relation to Odisha & overall issues confronting CBI at national level. Grouping BJD with some political parties because of this statement is incorrect & misleading.”