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Patnaik pushed to act against 'tainted' ministers
Giridhar Gopal in Bhubaneswar | July 28, 2004 04:02 IST
Last Updated: July 28, 2004 03:59 IST
After a minister resigned over a pending criminal case, pressure has increased on Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to act against other 'tainted' ministers and legislators.
The opposition Congress party in the state is targeting, among others, at least three ministers, one former minister, three legislators and one former legislator, according to news reports. Women and Child Development Minister Pramila Mallik resigned Monday following charges that she had beaten up a government servant.
While one minister and three legislator still face serious criminal cases, others are roaming free though non-bailable warrants have been issued against them, the reports claimed.
The sitting minister in trouble is the Orissa Cooperation Minister Surama Padhi, who is accused of torturing her sister-in-law for dowry. Padhi was arrested along with a relative after the alleged victim's father filed a police complaint in 1994. The accused were released on bail but the case is still pending in court.
The three legislators facing criminal cases are Jayaram Pangi, Rudra Madhab Ray and Sarat Paikray, the reports said.
Police registered a criminal case against Pangi at Mancheswar police station in Bhubaneswar December 1999 but took no steps to arrest him.
Rudra Madhab Ray and Sarat Paikray have criminal cases pending against them in Bhubaneswar. The police have yet to take any step to arrest them.
Similarly non-bailable warrants are pending against state Higher Education Minister Samir Dey and state Women, Child Development Minister Pramilla Mallik, and former state cooperation minister Arabinda Dhali, the reports said.
A Cuttack court directed the police to produce 70 persons, including Dey, Dhali and several others from the Bharatiya Janata Party in connection with a criminal case registered on November 26, 1996, it said. Some of those involved have obtained bail. However several others, including Dhali and Dey, are still absconding with the investigating police officials recording their status as 'not traceable.'
None of the 'tainted' legislators or ministers, all of whom belong to either the ruling Biju Janata Dal or the BJP, have refuted the charges.
Senior Congress leader Narasimha Mishra said that now that Mallik has resigned, Patnaik should act against the other politicians with a dubious reputation.
"The law is applicable to everybody. When the police takes actions against people committing pretty crimes how can it remain silent in cases where eminent people are involved," Mishra asked.
Former chief minister and leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly J B Patnaik, answered the question of sorts: "This shows that there is no law applicable to powerful people in the state."
More reports from Orissa
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