MUFP Demands Public Apology from Minister

The Media Unity for Freedom of Press ( MUFP )has, in a statement today, expressed deep shock and surprise over the incident involving a cabinet minister’s assault on media persons on duty on September 15, 2006 inside his secretariat chamber. The Minister Mr. Bijayshree Routray seems to have forgotten all ethics and manners while dealing with press persons. Media persons in Orissa have been in the target of wrong doers for quite some time. Not even a month has passed since media persons were attacked and seriously injured by hired goons inside KISS and KIIT campus and the police have yet to take necessary action against the assaulters, a minister has personally attacked a media person on duty.
The MUFP demands unconditional public apology from the erring minister and calls for serious introspection within the media fraternity to find out reasons for growing attacks on media persons who are just doing their job of digging out truth for public sharing. The MUFP also appeals the Chief Minister to take all such issues seriously and initiate appropriate action against the attackers so that freedom of expression in the state is duly protected.

Government in fidgets: Revenue Minister attacks reporters in the Secretariat

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

One may cheat some for some days, some for all days; but not all for all days, says an axiom.

Chief Minister of Orissa – Naveen Patnaik – is experiencing this at the moment, as day by day, now a days, one after one scandals and scams are getting exposed making him stripped of his cultivated credibility layer by layer.

This has put the government in fidgets.

Ministers are so perturbed that one of them, Bijoyshree Routray, who holds the revenue portfolio, has today crossed all limits of decency and discipline; and has used abusive, obnoxious terms for the Press reporters that were seeking update information on a land scam. Lenses have captured him live in using physical force against the scribes in his secretariat chamber while shouting them out and alarmingly setting his hand on collar/throat of a reporter of Focus Odisha TV channel.

Bijoyshree was known for his composure. But, in what he did today, he exceeded all wild conduct a mad man could have exhibited.
He was earlier known as a bribe-taker, as, for an instance, his palms were allegedly greased with Rs.5 lakhs for clearance of a bill of Rs.25 lakhs in ‘Orissa Health System Development Project’.

The State Government had succumbed to World Bank pressure to take a loan of Rs.415 crores to develop its health system. The loan was granted against stipulated standard of work. But sub-standard execution of work had vitiated the project. World Bank had searched for the reason through its own experts and, bribe taken by the minister was found to be a major reason of sub-standard execution of the project. In a statement on January 11, 2005, the World Bank had put it on records. During the alleged period, Bijoyshree Routroy was the Health Minister, the Chief Secretary of Orissa, at that time Ajit Kumar Tripathy, had informed the Press. So, thus was he known as a bribe-taker.

Now he is known for land scam committed under his nose at Ghangapatna of Bhubaneswar as recently exposed, over and above embezzlement of a vast plot in the Capital City’s high-net-worth industrial area in Unit 3 for personal residential use despite having taken the same in high concessional rate in the name of his wife on lease for a hospital.

From now on, he shall be known for attack on media in fear of further exposure.

Scores of acres of highly valuable land are not traceable in revenue records, when it is now public knowledge that some blue-eyed-boys of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik were the kingpins in Ghangapatna land scam comprising a patch of about 80 Acres, where to exclusivity was ensured through compound walls and a serving road, erected, obviously, by any hidden beneficiary of clout with the powers that be; whom the Patnaik government has not brought to books as yet.

Reporters were to ascertain what progress has been made on this score.

But, they had no idea that a senior and experienced minister like Bijoyshree Routroy was to irrupt so obnoxiously on seeing them making the query.

It is time for the Chief Minister to come out of his cocoon of nonchalance and say as to why it has not occurred to him so far that a political government in a democracy is never above answerability to the people, howsoever be its strength in the House of Representatives.

KIIT boss in land-grabbing spree: Investigation needed into conduct of C.S.Pur Police, the daily Samaja, Bishwabhusan Harichandan and Murali Manohar Joshi

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Interpol Vice-President and former Director of CBI Sri Uma Shankar Mishra, confronted by TV channel Focus Odisha with breaking observations of ORISSA MATTERS on his link with the daily Suryaprava founded by Chit Fund beneficiary Bikash Swain, has, perhaps inadvertently, divulged how the KIIT boss Achyut Samant was also a factor behind his joining that paper. Samant has termed it unfortunate as Mishra was, according to him, not expected to name him when he had not even any remote relationship with Swain and/or Suryaprava. A small paper under his shadow ownership has carried his statement. But, in-depth investigation by experienced sleuths is needed to find out the hidden truth behind Mishra’s link with Suryaprava even in its pre-natal stage and whether or not Samant tells the truth in this context.

However, when preferential land allocation, encroachment regularization and naked encroachment by natural persons, legal persons and ghosts in and around the capital city of Bhubaneswar has become so menacingly monstrous under chief minister Naveen Patnaik that scores of acres of land are shown untraceable in official records, it is time to make Samant answerable to the society in issues relating to such offenses.

Samant is an old offender in land-grabbing and cheating. But he is yet to be punished, because, some dishonest media persons have fortified him with protective layers that they have created around him and because of his clout with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik that he solidified by patronizing the farce of Kalinga prize in KIIT campus.

Either real or ghost doctoral degrees from manipulated or manufactured-in-paper universities have dazzled the crime-detectors of Orissa Government to such blinding effect that government cases against him have not been pursued by the government officials/prosecutors in right earnest.

Willingness of certain journalists and media houses to prostitute themselves for fellows like Samant has helped him build up the empire of land-looting and cheating without any care for the law. Around nine years ago, in second part of April 2005, I had exposed his misdeeds in the context of prostitution of the newspaper ‘Samaja’ under editorship of Ms. Manorama Mohapatra, in my column ‘Dura Adura’. It is published in my book of the same name spanning from page 82 to 86. Oriya knowing and Oriya speaking visitors to this site may peruse the same at the bottom of this posting.

In the concerned episode, Samant had attracted my attention through a headline that had castigated the people of Orissa as a mass suffering inferiority complex, because the people of Orissa were critical of the conduct of Samant. Shocked to the core over the filthy attack on people of Orissa by the Samaja of Gopabandhu Das at the behest of a Kera Bengali, I decided to look into the matter. And, I found, Samant had built up his castle with the help of the police under control of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, his ministerial colleague Bishwabhusan Harichandan and union minister Murali Manohar Joshi of BJP, over and above prostituting media houses like the Samaja.

In market design of rabid rightists education being a commercial commodity, techno-education traders had acquired eligibility for industrial plots under IDCO dispensation of which Samant had taken advantage.

It transpired from industry minister Bishwabhusan Harichandan’s reply to a question from Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra in the Assembly on March 9 that Samant’s institute had already bagged 31.149 acres of land from IDCO in the name of hostel for engineering students, 700-bedded hospital, school and other professional institutes which was not utilized as per terms and conditions; and yet he had encroached a vast area of 9.733 acres behind back of the authorities. Against this encroachment, government had filed one FIR in Chandra Sekhar Pur Police Station, Bhubaneswar. By the date of my report no other action had been taken. Why the Chandra Sekhar Pur police station did not act upon the Government FIR and what role Bishwabhusan had played in inaction of police on the FIR is yet a fit case for investigation by the CBI.

The same Bishwabhusan had told the Assembly on March 2 in reply to MLA Ananta Prasad Sethi that, Samant’s organisation had taken huge sums of money phase after phase in the name of S.C. and S.T. students and had misused the same funds. The fraud having come to records on spot inspection by the departmental director, the central government was moved not to supply further funds to the organization and to take steps for recovery of the huge funds already given. But, with Naveen Patnaik as Chief Minister, the official steps were stymied, never to start again.

According to a confidential communication preferred by the Director of Technical Education to the Secretary of Panchayatiraj department on 11.9.2001, Samant’s KIIT had swindled scores of lakhs of rupees taken from the Trisem funds in between March 1994 and December 1995 and resorted to forgery and cheating to cover up the offense.

Yet, with Murali Manohar Joshi of BJP as union minister for Human resources Development, KIIT was accorded with University status in blatant disregard to the most eligible and competent claim of the Ravenshaw College of Cuttack, since which day, the land-grabber has not looked behind.

Like the Samaja of March 31, 2005, many newspapers of Orissa are yet prostituting for Samant in mad rush for money.

But to go to the root of his offenses for salvaging Orissa from mafia raj in education as well as for bringing in end to loot of land and public exchequer, investigation is needed into conduct of C.S.Pur Police, the daily Samaja, Bishwabhusan Harichandan and Murali Manohar Joshi in matter of the abandoned actions against Achyut Samant and/or KIIT.

My article mentioned supra that had exposed the foul play is reproduced below for perusal by whosoever wants to reach the root. Study it and make up your mind to force an investigation into the malpractices unveiled therein, so that motherland Orissa may be saved from the climate of embezzlement and land loot.Edu mafia 1Edu mafia 2Edu mafia 3Edu mafia 4Edu mafia 5

Advocate General quits and faces CBI; Justice Laxmikant Mohapatra be probed now

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

More heads to roll to save the skin of the Chief Minister. But, all the offenders need be punished.

As on now, Sri Asok Mohanty has quitted the post of Advocate General and has been made to face the ongoing CBI investigations.

He had appeared in these pages for the first time when I had exposed his position in a triangle of land scam where he as well as Justice Laxmikant Mohapatra and the chit fund cheat Pradeep Sethy had formed the vertices.

This exposure was captioned: Judicial Enquiry Essential to determine if Justice Laxmikanta Mohapatra did not act a conduit for a chit fund mafia.

Sri Mohanty is maintaining that he has not benefitted from chit fund fraud; but has purchased the house from the chit fund operator by paying Rs.1.1 crore. I hope, investigation would reveal what happened to State’s dues of Court Fee when his transaction with Pradeep Sethy was complete before “execution of the lease deed” as discussed in this exposure.

Now it is time for the CBI to bring Justice Mohapatra into its investigations. Modus operandi of fraud cannot be fathomed unless Justice Mohapatra is subjected to the ongoing investigation by CBI.

Pradeep Sethy, it seems, was operating from a position bulwarked by jurists, journalists, sleuths and shrewd politicians.

When some of the ruling party heavyweights such as Pravat Tripathy known for being very close to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik are under CBI scanner in course of investigation into Sethy’s offenses, our breaking observation in ORISSA MATTERS has brought to focus why should a former director of CBI Sri Uma Shankar Mishra be investigated into by the CBI over his connection with a declared beneficiary of Sethy’s chit fund frauds.

We have already discussed Justice Laxmikant Mohapatra of Orissa High Court as he then was and Asok Mohanty in his avatar of Advocate General of Orissa in matter of their dubious business with Sethy in these pages.

Now when we look at his connection with Press, we shudder, as we find Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in official patronage to an organization purportedly of media persons, styled as ‘The Press Club of Odisha’ under the banner of which beneficiaries of forgery and chit fund fraud pose as epitomes of Press.

When the founder of this Press Club, Madhu Sudan Mohanty has been repeatedly grilled by CBI in matter of Chit fund fraud, the Chief Minister is aware of the fact that a chairman of this club Deepak Malaviya is a beneficiary of the forgery on Gopabandhu’s Will.

Knowing that Malavya is one of the persons who use a forged Will of Pt. Gopabandhu in keeping the daily Samaja under illicit occupation, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has given the Club a big government bungalow by sheer misuse of his prerogative under his influence. The CMO finding its refuge in the pages of the Samaja in matter of public grievance to hoodwink the people when the CM never attends his ‘grievance-cell’ , is of tremendous significance in the present context.

Both Malavya and Mohanty were marked as the most active elements in foundation of the said Press Club, which deserves investigation into whether or not, under the smoke screen of the Press Club of Odisha, chit fund swindler Pradeep Sethy had been safeguarding his empire by using the Press from the smaller daily Odisha Bhaskara to major daily ‘The Samaja’, ‘birds of the same feathers fly together’ being the axiom.

The issue is most intricate. In no other instance of offense, so far in Orissa, entanglement was so pervasive from politicians in power to Press under fraudsters and from directors of CBI to top jurists in the Bench and the Bar.

So, the investigating agency shall have to act with diligence and determination.

The era of loot shall have to end.

Dismissal a must, as no minister is more precious than the Chief Minister

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Scams are so vast and so stupefying that for the ‘supremo’ of the ruling BJD and Chief Minister of Orissa Sri Naveen Patnaik, jettisoning a few of his cabinet and party colleagues seems now to be the only available way to escape public wrath.

His stoic silence on the offenses of land loot by his close colleagues and their families, on funds loot by chit fund operators with whom top functionaries of his government do seem to have had deep nexus and to whom his functional support had given necessary boost in public esteem helping them build up their illicit empires, do emphatically suggests that either he has no political wisdom to understand what is going on in his circle or has personal involvement with the crimes that the syndicate under his protection has been carrying out. Either way, his credibility is affected.

He is certainly in a very deep quagmire, as glimpses of what the CBI is eliciting from raided rogues show that the State Crime Branch under his control, instead of bringing the offenders to book, was trying to keep its eyes closed in many matters.

Whosoever has appropriate intelligence to know what is what, is now looking askance at him with such disgust that it would never be a surprise if members of BJD openly revolt against him in order to save their respective public images at least in their  constituencies. Come the general elections, sycophancy to Naveen will no more help them win, they are now sure.

To preempt this revolt, Naveen has prepared a road map to dismiss some of his ministers, party colleagues, close aids and not only that, but also to subject them to penal prosecution, while simultaneously trying to please the loudmouths with largesse such as cabinet berths and coveted positions in the party where they may feel elated.

Two of his latest actions give us this indication.

When a senior bureaucrat Debaraj Mishra has been suspended from service yesterday and strict orders for his prosecution has been issued, the Athgarh MLA has been awarded with the position of chief coordinator of BJD for co-operative elections. Last session of the Assembly had witnessed, the Athgarh MLA had raised certain issues that had given his party government a lot of embarrassment. So, the boss of BJD making him the boss of electoral campaign for co-operative societies is of no less significance in the present context.

When the first action is meant to impress the people that the CM is far from compromising with corruption, the second action is  meant to impress his party colleagues that he is yet an accommodating leader.

This is as per plan to repair his severely damaged image.

Road map is ready to repair his image through public contact campaigns to start from October 2, wherein members and workers of BJD will march on foot to tell the people about his distinction in dismissing close colleagues on coming to know of their corruption. And, the gullible people, BJD think tank believes, will again fall in Naveen’s trap.

So, most probably, some of the ministers will be dismissed before October 2. Even penal prosecution against a few of them cannot be ruled out, as there is no other way to save the skin of the Chief Minister, when waves of exposure generated by CAG and CBI are too strong to slough over.

Co-operative system is over-saturated with corrupt elements that mostly would form the electorate. So, there may be no difficulty in winning the societies. Naveen will try to show it as continuance of public faith in him. Read with the impact of dismissal and disciplinary action against the tainted ministers and party leaders, the co-operative haul up, if that happens, would give him the revival he is in so dire need of now.

Under the scheme, therefore, dismissal is a must for some of the cabinet members.

In fact, no minister is more precious than the Chief Minister in the parlance of BJD sycophants.

Interpol Vice-President Uma Shankar Mishra ought to explain his position in chit fund felony

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is investigating into the chit fund felony that has shown how criminals are ruling the roost in Orissa. But, the CBI may do a mistake if it fails to assess whether or not its former Director Mr. Uma Shankar Mishra had a link therewith. Mr. Mishra is Interpol Vice President.

This unwelcome impasse is created by disclosure of the name of a newspaper owner as a beneficiary of his loot by chit fund swindler Pradeep Sethi  in course of interrogation by the CBI.  Mr. Mishra was the founder editor-in-chief of this newspaper.

If, as reported, Bikash Swain, owner of the said newspaper – Suryaprava – has been funded by Sethi, the CBI cannot but look into how far Mr. Mishra’s involvement with Swain was innocent.

When Swain was arrested by Orissa Police in September 2010, we in the Media Unity for Freedom of Press had condemned the arrest, holding the same as violation of freedom of Press, as we believed Mr. Mishra’s version that the police action was meant to intimidate the paper, because it was exposing misdeeds of the government.

We even had had a public-Press conference in the auditorium of the Orissa branch of Red Cross Society, where Mr. Mishra had shared our podium and had come down heavily on the State Police for what he held “illegal” arrest of the founder-publisher of the paper he was editing. We even had demonstrated before the Governor’s residence in condemning Swain’s arrest.

Now as Swain’s name has come out as a beneficiary of the loot by  Sethi, we earnestly hope, he will honestly reveal his real connection with the exposed offense, specifically as the MUFP had publicly stood with him.

Swain had, in the eyes of many journalists, reason to be considered a credible man, because of the famous police officer – former Director of  CBI – Mr. Mishra’s association with him as the Editor-in-Chief of his paper, even before the paper had come out.

In reporting on the paper on the anvil by then, Orissa’s newspapers worth the name had welcomed it, specifically as a very unknown man – by profession a contractor – had roped in the former CBI chief to edit his paper and the then chief of CBI Mr. Aswini Kumar to inaugurate its office and website much ahead of the print copy reached the newsstand.

A report in Indian Express on June 4, 2009  gives us a clear picture of the day when it says,

“Launching a daily during an economic downturn would be a marketing manager’s nightmare. But Surya Prava, a soon-to-be-launched Oriya daily, is no routine newspaper, what with current CBI Director Ashwani Kumar flying in from Delhi to inaugurate its building and a former director, Uma Shankar Mishra, joining as its editor.

While Kumar yesterday inaugurated the office and the website of the newspaper, the 16-page broadsheet will be launched on January 23. The newspaper is being promoted by a little-known contractor called Bikash Swain.

Mishra, who, during his tenure as CBI director, got underworld don Abu Salem extradited from Portugal, has been employed as Editor of the newspaper”.

The report is self-explanatory and significant. It would be better for Mr. Mishra to explain this excess zeal in being associated with a person who in course of time has been named as a beneficiary of chit fund loot.

The CBI is addressed to reach the root of the crime sic passim the chit fund empire. And, in the root, are there persons like the former Director of CBI who had allowed himself to be so enthusiastically associated with a beneficiary of the loot? The people would like to know the answer.

Dirty Journalists need be named, Press needs be saved from putrefaction

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Chit Fund scandal has brought ignominy to the scribes in Orissa as Pradeep Sethi, the exposed offender, has reportedly revealed the names of some of the media persons as beneficiaries of his economic offenses wherein some former as well as present ministers, and MLAs, and MPs and functionaries of the ruling BJD are allegedly involved.

Not only chit funds, but also acquiring residential plots under discretionary quota, availing largesse and junkets from industries looting the State, acting conduits between corporate houses and power corridors, connection with land-grabbers and compradors as well as Mafiosi operating educational institutes are some of the allegations being generally raised against ‘some’ of the journalists.

Though their names are not yet disclosed, it goes on the rounds in the grapevines that, the notorious operator of chit fund ‘Artha Tattwa’ has told about them to the investigating sleuths. Names undisclosed, fame tarnished, journalists as a whole feel embarrassed like never before.

More embarrassing is the fact that, when any journalist truthfully exposes any economic offender, he or she is soon shown by another section of the scribes as a stooge of a rival mafia.

Most embarrassing for the ones to whom journalism is a mission, is a protection layer provided by avaricious media owners to one Achyut Samant, a land-grabbing mafia running a commercial hub behind mask of education at Bhubaneswar, whose hired goons had made recently a murderous attack on journalists as they were covering a land scam, which he was accused of.

Like prostitutes serve the patrons according to their desire, the media owners, for money, ensured brainwashing of the people in favor of Samant through calculatedly coined advertisements. These media owners have not condemned, as yet, the assault on journalists on duty.

On the other hand, silent vibrations of the chit fund swindler’s confessions before investigating sleuths that he was, as and when necessary, greasing the palms of various media persons to keep his car of corruption run without  any hazard, has been rocking the State and image of media has gone so low in public esteem that the people seem to be far from standing in solidarity with the attacked journalists. In their perception, attack on the said media persons was also a part of the gang war, not attack on Press per se.

This indicates that the Press in Orissa has fallen into a state of putrefaction. Journalists are to save it from becoming more putrid.

So, instead of passively tolerating the ignominy, scribes of the State must raise a demand for immediate disclosure of the names of media persons about whom the chit fund offender has told the investigating sleuths, so that, the entire community of scribes does not further fall down in public esteem.

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