Opposition seeks Odisha minister’s sacking in chit fund scam

Bhubaneswar, April 7 (IANS) The opposition Congress and BJP on Thursday sought the sacking of Odisha Food Minister Sanjay Dasburma after he was issued notice by the CBI for allegedly accepting a car as gift from a chit fund firm.

“The minister should immediately resign on moral ground or else the chief minister should ask him to resign after CBI issued notice to him in the chit fund scam,” said Prithviraj Harichandan, general secretary of the Odisha unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD), however, said the notice served to the minister on Monday by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) seeking details of the car was politically motivated.

The scam refers to chit fund firms collecting about Rs.4,600 crore by defrauding about a million people in the state. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is inquiring into the fraud involving 44 chit fund firms following directions of the Supreme Court.

The firms being probed include Artha Tatwa Group which allegedly gifted the car to Dasburma.

“The law will take its own course, but prima facie the chief minister should ask Dasburma to step down on moral grounds. If proven otherwise, he can always reinstate him in his council of ministers,” said BJP’s Harichandan.

Another BJP leader Samir Mohanty said the chief minister, who has always maintained that law would take its own course in the matter, should prove his integrity by sacking the minister.

The Congress attacked the minister for having links with chit fund companies and benefiting from them. Congress leader Pradeep Majhi demanded Dasburma’s resignation on moral grounds.

Another Congress leader Lulu Mohapatra said: “The moment I received the information about a minister’s involvement, I informed the media about it. The recent string of events only proves that whatever I said was correct.”

The ruling BJD said it has had no problem with the investigation, but the CBI notice did not seem impartial.

“All cases related to the chit fund scam are being investigated by the CBI and the process is on for two years. Our party has always welcomed the investigation, but it has to be impartial. We somehow smell politics in issuing notice to Dasburma,” said BJD spokesperson Pratap Keshari Deb.

Meanwhile, some lawyers representing the minister appeared before the CBI and submitted documents relating to the car owned by Dasburma.

An aide of Dasburma had submitted documents to the central investigating agency on Wednesday.

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