State

Odisha chitfund scam arrests: Congress demands independent probe

New Delhi, Nov 6: Claiming that the "degree and depth of the involvement" of the Naveen Patnaik government in Odisha in the chitfund scam was "very large", Congress today demanded an independent inquiry by a retired Supreme Court or High Court judge.

"Time for Naveen Patnaik and BJD government in Odisha to pretend that someone else is doing it and he is Mr Clean and everyone caught and arrested are cheating common man of Odisha are over," party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi told reporters.

Singhvi also alleged that BJD's erstwhile ally BJP was involved.

The Congress spokesman said that about seven to eight MLAs, ministers, chip whips of BJD have been "directly implicated" in the ponzi scam in which thousands of crores of rupees have been taken away from ordinary people.

Noting that the Patnaik government had entered into MoUs with the Seashore group which has been one of the companies allegedly involved in the scam, he said, "Naveen Patnaik, are you sleeping or pretending? It is a proverbial ostrich in the sand (attitude)... these are your sitting members, please do not fool people... the degree and the depth of the involvement of the BJD government is very large and extremely comprehensive," he said.

He sought an independent inquiry by a retired Supreme Court or a high court judge nominated by Chief Justice of India or that of the high court to bring out the truth.

As regards BJP, Singhvi said chickens are coming home to roost. He recalled that BJP leader Suresh Pujari having said that Odisha jails will be full of politicians was coming out correct.

Meanwhile, Patnaik has distanced his government and the BJD from the chitfund scam over which several BJD leaders, including an MP have been arrested by CBI, saying the arrest has nothing to do with the party.

"They have been arrested by the CBI. But this has nothing to do with the party. It is an individual business. The law will take its course," Patnaik told reporters here.

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