.........BHUBANESWAR: Arrest of BJD legislator Pravat Ranjan Biswal by the CBI in the chit fund scam on Tuesday evoked sharp reaction from the ruling party which criticised the BJP Government at the Centre for misusing Central agencies to intimidate rival political parties.
Describing Biswal’s arrest as politically motivated, the ruling party said the arrest could be a game plan of BJP as its president Amit Shah had indicated a move on this line during his recent visit to the State.
Referring to Shah’s address to party workers during his recent visit when he had threatened to put BJD leaders involved in scams behind bars if BJP came to power in Odisha, Rajya Sabha member and party spokesman Pratap Keshari Deb asked why Biswal, who was interrogated several times in the past, was arrested by the CBI now.
“Was the CBI sleeping for three years and woke up to arrest Biswal days after Shah’s speech,” Deb asked and said the BJD has decided to protest the misuse of Central agencies by the Centre to threaten rival political parties. Deb alleged that Biswal was arrested under pressure from BJP which is ruling at the Centre.Alleging that the BJP-led NDA Government at the Centre is targeting non-BJP state governments, particularly in Eastern India, senior leader Prasanna Acharya said the arrest of Biswal at this juncture when the BJD is fighting against fuel price has given rise to doubts.
“Our party is in favour of an impartial probe into the scam but it appears that the Centre is misusing CBI and agencies like the Enforcement Directorate but the BJD will fight it out politically,” he said.
As several BJD leaders were embroiled in ponzi scam, the regional party had earlier suspended Banki MLA Pravat Tripathy and Mayurbhanj MP Ramchandra Hansdah after their arrest by CBI for alleged links with chit fund companies. However, the party is not in favour of suspending Biswal after his arrest. “A decision in this regard will be taken by party president after analysing the FIR filed by CBI against the legislator,” Deb said.
Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik called a meeting of senior leaders at Naveen Niwas on Tuesday to discuss the political fallout of the development soon after reports of Biswal’s arrest spread in the morning.
Protest on home turf
Cuttack: The arrest of Cuttack-Choudwar legislator was strongly protested by BJD activists on the MLA’s home turf on Tuesday. Condemning the arrest, more than 100 activists of Cuttack Biju Chhatra Janata Dal, led by its president Smruti Ranjan Das, staged a demonstration and protest meeting at College Square. Leaders of the student unit of BJD alleged that the BJP-led Central Government is utilising its investigation agency in a vindictive manner. The activists raised slogans of ‘Naveen Patnaik Jindabad, Prabhat Biswal Jindabad’. In a counter protest, about 100 BJP workers led by party vice-president Nayan Kishore Mohanty burnt effigy of Biswal at College Square. Welcoming the arrest, the BJP activists also staged a demonstration demanding immediate action for cancellation of his membership. On the other hand, hundreds of BJD workers from Choudwar-Cuttack Assembly constituency took out a rally to CBI office at Bhubaneswar to protest the arrest.