BHUBANESWAR: Odisha Jan Morcha chief Pyarimohan Mohapatra on Saturday accused Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik of protecting controversial Artha Tatwa (AT) Group chief Pradeep Sethy.
Addressing mediapersons here, Pyari said the chief minister might have got benefits from Sethy through his party MLA of Gopalpur Pradeep Panigrahi, who is said to be having close links with Sethy. "Sethy belongs to Hinjili, which is Naveen's assembly constituency," Pyari said. His remarks came a day after the Supreme Court admitted a PIL, seeking CBI probe into chit fund scam in Odisha, and asked the state government to file a reply within four weeks.
"Sethy earlier told the media that he bribed several ruling party MLAs and ministers. Naveen is protecting his party men as well as Sethy," said Pyari, who was Naveen's key advisor for over 12 years till the former fell out with the CM last year.
Panigrahi rubbished the allegations. "The charges are baseless. Mohapatra is senior to me. He should not have made such false allegations," Panigrahi said. "If Mohapatra proves the charges, I am ready to quit. And if he fails, he should resign from Rajya Sabha," Panigrahi said. "The government is not protecting any fraudster," he added.
Though there was much hue and cry over alleged political connections of AT Group chief, the commissionerate of police are yet to bring any political leader under the radar of investigation. The Kharavela Nagar police here had arrested Sethy on May 12.
Recently, Union minister and senior Congress leader Srikant Jena questioned Naveen's presence alongside tainted Seashore Group CMD Prashant Das at a company event in Bhubaneswar.
In a related development, Berhampur police on Saturday took Subhransu Lenka, the state chief of Astha International Group, on two-day remand for questioning.