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Odisha: Naveen sacks another minister

Last updated on: June 04, 2012 17:22 IST
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday dismissed Housing and Urban Development Minister Sarda Prasad Nayak, three days after sacking two ministers, for his alleged role in dissidence activities.

"I have forwarded a letter requesting the Governor of Odisha to dismiss Sarda Prasad Nayak, minister of state for housing and urban development department," Patnaik told reporters.

Pointing out that charges against Nayak were "more serious" than the "shadow of corruption", Patnaik said he had requested the Governor to allow him to retain the  Housing and Urban Development Department while giving the excise department to finance minister Prafulla Ghadai.

Nayak was holding the excise department as an additional charge after A U Singhdeo resigned from the Cabinet after the hooch tragedy in February.

Patnaik, who had sacked two other ministers -- Anjali Behera and Sanjeev Sahu -- reportedly took the action after he was convinced that Nayak was among the people who hatched conspiracy to topple the government.

Nayak, according to a statement of a tribal member of Legislative Assembly, had played a lead role in organising a meeting at a hotel in Rourkela, where a conspiracy was hatched to topple the government in absence of the chief minister, who was away on a official visit to the United Kingdom.

While Anjali Behera and Sanjeev Sahu were dismissed on June 1, no action had then been taken against Nayak, though he had attended the meeting at dissident leader and Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament Pyari Mohan Mohapatra's residence on May 29.

"Patnaik was in search of concrete evidence on Nayak's alleged involvement in the coup bid," a senior minister said adding Keonjhar MLA Subarna Nayak had on Sunday alleged that the minister had organised a meeting to raise fund to the tune of Rs 200 crore for toppling the government.

Patnaik after his return from London on May 31, had consulted MLAs, ministers, MPs and senior party leaders before taking action against the ministers the next day.

The BJD supremo had also suspended his long-time strategist and Rajya Sabha MP Pyari Mohan Mohapatra and two MLAs -- Pravat Biswal and Bibhuti Balabantray -- from the party.

With Patnaik sacking three ministers and suspending two MLAs and one MP from the party, sources said more heads were likely to roll in near future.

Energy Minister Atanu S Nayak was also said to be on the firing line as he had been accused of being one of the trusted aides of Mohapatra who allegedly tried to topple the

government.

The May 29 meeting at Mohapatra's house was said to have been organised as part of an exercise by the dissidents in the BJD in an alleged attempt to topple the Naveen Patnaik

government in the absence of the chief minister.

The legislators who attended the meeting were allegedly asked to sign on a paper seeking to make Mohapatra the BJD legislature party leader, some MLAs present at the gathering had later claimed.

PTI
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