Bhubaneswar: Many eyebrows have been raised in Odisha’s bureaucratic circle when BJD MP Jay Panda alleged that a non-Odia senior officer in CM Naveen Patnaik’s office has orchestrated the allegation of financial irregularities against him.
The former chief minister of Chhattishgarh,Ajit Jogi, at a media conference at New Delhi has leveled serious charges against IMFA and Ortel Communication owned by Panda’s family in Odisha. Jogi, who is heading Janata Congress Chhattishgarh, a regional satrap floated by him after quitting Congres party, demanded for a CBI probe into the financial favour garnered by Panda’s family company IMFA and Ortel from former finance minister P Chidambaram.
“I demand from the Prime Minister that the scope of inquiry in the Karti-INX media investigation be broadened, that BJD MP Baijayant Panda and the dealings of his more than 100 companies be investigated,” Jogi said at the media conference
Jogi said his “research team” worked for months to establish a link between Panda’s company and Kirti’s role. He is prepared to hand over all papers to any investigative agency and sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention.
While responding to Jogi’s allegations Panda has said, “ It is sad to see Sri Jogi, who was once a relevant politician reduced to such a pitable condition of acting as hired gun on behalf of vested interests, making silly allegations. There are strong rumours that this has been orchestrated by an Odisha cadre bureaucrat who has been dabbling in politics and misleading the chief minister about many matters”.
Jay Panda’s dragging an officer of the CMO office into the controversy has not well taken by the bureaucrats in the state. How can an Odisha based officer influence Jogi, a former chief minister political stalwart of a neighbouring stae, to level ‘false’ allegations against Panda? they wonder. When none of the non-Odia officers working in CMO belongs to Chhattishgarh, how can they have rapport with Jogi?
Moreover, Naveen’s acquaintance with Jogi is not known.
It is beyond comprehension of the bureaucrats why the non-Odia officer in CMO office would chose Jogi of all the persons to malign Panda.
Panda’s pointing finger at CMO office is not only unreasonable but also ridiculous, they observed.
Jogi must have some political reasons and conflict of business interest to nurse grudge against Panda, believe many in the state bureaucracy.
Panda’s Ortel Communication, which is providing cable and internet services, has virtual business monopoly in Chhattishgarh. Like in Odisha’s major cities and towns, the Ortel Home Cable has exclusive cable rights in New Raipur. The business expansion of the Ortel is certainly not without the blessings of Chhattishgarh’s all powerful chief minister Raman Singh.
Panda, and for that matter the Ortel, in their zeal to please the Raman Singh government might have crossed path with Jogi somewhere, believe bureaucrats.
Now with coming up of the name of Raman Singh in Panama Paper leak case, Jogi is smelling blood. He is searching shell companies to pin down Raman. His demand for probe into the 100 companies of Panda is perhaps aimed at pinning down the Chhattisgarh chief minister in the case.
For Jogi, who is now feverishly pitching his Janata Congress Chhattisgarh against BJP to wrest power in the state in 2018 , anybody who is a friend of Raman is, obviously, his arch enemy.
The statement of Jogi that he has come out with the allegations after doing through research of the documents and papers clearly indicates that he is after Panda.