Bhubaneswar, 10/7 ( Odisha Samacgar Bureau ) – Reacting to the State Government’s belated move to appoint a one-man Judicial Commission under a retired Judge to enquire into the Chit fund scam, former Minister and senior Congress leader Shri Niranjan Patnaik on Wednesday wrote a fifth letter to the Odisha Chief Minister, Shri Naveen Patnaik, demanding for a thorough probe by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) under judicial supervision to prosecute the guilty.
“A judicial enquiry is not a criminal investigation. A judge has no powers to collect evidence for prosecution of the guilty in a court of law. The Commission may look into larger issues and give their findings in the next five years and that may also be too optimistic going by the past records of Commissions instituted by your Government. Should these tainted individuals on whom there is more than a shadow of wrongdoing be allowed to hold public office till then? Frankly speaking you have been trying to play hide-and-seek with the truth. There is now an impression that you have announced a set of steps on July 09 only to influence the course of the ongoing PILs in the Supreme Court and the Odisha High Court. Why were these steps not taken earlier and why now coinciding with the court hearings?”
Shri Patnaik said that his last four letters on the widespread chit fund scam that prospered during last 10 years in the BJD-led government have neither been acknowledged by the CM nor by his office. “What has astonished me most is the unwillingness of the CM to admit to the scale of the fraud perpetrated by a group of fraudsters in direct connivance of powerful people under governmental oversight. Also, the refusal of the police to nail down any one high and mighty giving an impression that no part of the government need be accountable for such glaring and broad light looting and infringement of current laws in force. I am sure Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code was in existence all these years as was Section 120 (B) while all these un-savoury events took place,” he added.
After Shri Patnaik’s first letter on May 08, the State Police had swung into action on May 10, 2013 by carrying out state-wide raids. But in a subsequent letter, Shri Patnaik alleged that the police was trying to hoodwink and had conducted themselves in a pathetic and an unprofessional manner. FIRs were drafted in a few sentences without substantiating any charge or taking recourse to a preliminary enquiry in the investigation as is routine in such white-collar crimes. The Police seem to be in a hurry to facilitate release on bail of accused in most of the cases and of course leaving behind gaping loopholes that will finally secure acquittal of the guilty. “As of now, the CM has failed to attend to these glaring problems with police investigation and take necessary corrective steps by putting in place a credible investigating mechanism of an SIT,” Shri Patnaik averred.
The functioning of these NBFCs was very much in public knowledge and was not unknown to the police stations. In fact, police officers had a clear nexus with these companies and therefore, did not take any preventive or investigative action. He has demanded the CM to clarify if fraudster Pradeep Sethi had donated a substantial amount of money to the CM relief fund, as is being rumored. “So far, the CM has been dithering and waiting to see if he can minimize the damage by waiting for public memory to fade or media focus to alter. It is now almost understood that a few of his ministers and party leaders have received favours from these companies in cash and kinds,” added Shri Patnaik.
“These fraudsters were moving around in the power corridors as respectable entrepreneurs with the high and the mighty and were known to many in your party. But, when it came to accepting criminal or moral liability, you have managed to keep the identities of all these leaders who had clear and identifiable nexus and provided patronage under wrap. Was patronage provided without a quid pro quo? Why should you protect these individuals? Are you afraid that the scam may see your media profile crumble like a house of card?” Shri Patnaik said.
Expressing happiness at the creation of a corpus fund as demanded by him from the beginning he has wandered how Rs 300 Crore can compensate a scam that is now estimated at Rupees 10,000 crore? It is my request and suggestion that you agree to the demand of an SIT enquiry under judicial supervision and sack your ministers and party leaders, who have received favours from these fraudsters. This is a matter of public morality and persons responsible directly or indirectly for such squandering of money belonging to small depositors must be named and shamed to cleanse public life and restore faith of the people in the efficacy of rule of law,” Shri Patnaik said.