State

Congress demands Resignation of Naveen after CBI grills Aide

Bhubaneswar, Nov 24: A day after Saroj Sahu, a close aide of chief minister Naveen Patnaik, was quizzed by CBI, Congress on Sunday asked Patnaik to resign and demanded a probe against him by the central agency in the chit fund scam.

"We demand the Chief Minister resign immediately as evidence gathered so far by the CBI in the ponzi scam is sufficient enough to nail him," Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Narasinha Mishra told reporters here.

The CBI should launch an investigation against Patnaik and interrogate him in connection with the chit fund scam as there was prima facie evidence with the central agency about his role in the scam, the Congress leader said.

Referring to the interrogation of Patnaik's close aide Saroj Sahu by the CBI on Saturday, Mishra said Saroj had been given all powers by the Chief Minister.

Claiming that the CBI probe was now moving towards the CM's residence "Naveen Niwas", Mishra alleged Saroj even functioned as the authorised person of Patnaik to sign letters, statements and press releases.

Recalling how Patnaik had removed ministers and leaders who came under cloud of corruption in the past, he said now the Chief Minister should apply the same principle in his own case and step down to enable the CBI to conduct a fair probe into the chit fund scam.

Hitting out at BJD leaders for terming the CBI probe as politically motivated, Mishra said they should remember that the central agency was investigating the ponzi scheme cases at the direction of the Supreme Court, which was monitoring the inquiry.

Moreover, BJD leaders had welcomed the CBI probe initially and now when Naveen Niwas was scanner, they were terming it as politically motivated, he said.

Lashing out at the BJD government, Mishra said though the Centre in a letter had warned the state about ponzi scheme companies, no action was taken and MoUs were concluded with tainted chit fund firms for business in a number of sectors and the Chief Minister's attendance at the function of a tainted ponzi scheme firm gave credibility to its activities.

The Congress leader also accused the BJD of trying to avoid discussion on the issue in the Assembly and expressed apprehension that the ongoing winter session may be cut short by the government to avoid heat on the chit fund scam.

-PTI

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