Bharatiya Janata Party in Odisha on Tuesday said it was ashamed of its ex-MLA Hitesh Kumar Bagarti, arrested by Central Bureau of Investigation in the multi-crore chitfund scam, while ruling BJD said it would not provide protection to tainted leaders booked in ponzi case, refering to its arrested MP Ramchandra Hansda.
"We feel ashamed of having given party ticket to Hitesh Kumar Bagarti. Had we not given party ticket to Bagarti, he would not have become an MLA and cheated people," BJP spokesman and former state party president Suresh Pujari told reporters.
Stating that the BJP state leadership regretted the incident, Pujari said, "Bagarti was not given party ticket again in 2014 elections."
Senior BJP leader Bijay Mohapatra said Bagarti was no more a member of BJP. However, he admitted that Bagarti became a director Nabadiganta Capital Service, a ponzi company, when he was a BJP Member of the Legislative Assembly.
While washing its hands off the chitfund scam, the ruling BJD, whose Lok Sabha MP from Mayurbhanj Ramchandra Hansda was arrested by CBI earlier in the day, maintained that the party was not providing any protection nor shielding any tainted leader involved in the ponzi activities.
"No one can know who is involved in the scam or who is not from his/her face. Though BJD had given them ticket in the elections, the party is taking action as soon as their activities came to the fore.
“There is no question of providing any protection to any tainted leader," BJD spokesman and former minister Rabi Narayan Nanda said.
Terming the arrest of certain BJD leaders as ‘unfortunate,’ Nanda claimed that the regional party's image was not touched even as some of its leaders are interrogated or arrested in the scam.
BJD MLA Pravat Tripathy, MP Ramachandra Hansda and ex-MLA Subarna Naik as well as ex-BJP MLA Hitesh Kumar Bagarti have been arrested by CBI in the chit fund scam.
Opposition Congress, on the other hand said the ruling BJD leaders, including Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik should be ashmed that its leaders were involved in the scam.
"BJD president Naveen Patnaik should be ashmed of his partymen," Congress spokesman Sarat Rout said.
Illustration by Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com