Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
The Samaja, as a newspaper, was so powerful that the ‘Inquiry Committee’ headed by former Supreme Court Judge, Justice Dr. Arijit Pasayat, constituted to investigate into various alleged frauds practiced in the organization, could not dare to sum up the financial embezzlements and other severe malpractices, despite evidences.
Nevertheless, the Committee’s Report, unanimously accepted by the Executive Council of the Servants of the People Society (SoPS) that has occupied the Paper and its Press since passing away of its founder, Pundit Gopabandhu Das, in its meeting on 28 February 2011, deserves keen attention. It said:
“The Samaja, unlike other newspapers, is not the property of any individual or group of persons. It belongs to the people of Orissa who are emotionally attached to the newspaper”.
So, people of Orissa are genuinely concerned as financial frauds and vulturous attacks on each other by members and functionaries of SoPS continue to cause havoc to its life.
Justice Arijit Pasayat Committee has shown, how its circulation and revenue has been falling over the years. What could have happened when the corrupt and criminal elements are so active in its management?
There are cases in the courts. There are captivating verdicts too.
There are who-purchases-whom-competitions. There are who-dismisses-whom battles.
There is chaos and anarchy in every sphere of the once reigning newspaper of the State, as, functionaries are allegedly looting its funds, misusing its assets, working as commission agents, sans any qualms, sans any punishment.
Some of its employees, some of the local intelligentsia, out of sheer emotional love for the paper, have been posting evidences of how corruption is eating away The Samaja in a new website they have ventured in the name and style of http://www.savesamaja.com and as reported in these pages, members of the public have started campaigns to save the paper from the SoPS comprising some corrupt fellows.
But in a age when law is a conundrum, the paper may not at all escape the labyrinth of frauds.
The labyrinth of fraud seems to have engulfed The Samaja ever since the death of its founder, Utkalmani Pundit Gopabandhu Das.
Gopabandhu’s Will seems not genuine
As I have hinted to in my earlier reports on affairs of The Samaja, Gopabandhu’s death was used by a group of persons, who, during his life were somewhat seen in his proximity, to manufacture a Will in a style that may look like a genuine reduction to writing of his detection. The said group had spread the news that Gopabandhu had made a Will to hand over his Paper and Press to the SoPS. The people of Orissa had no reason to disbelieve the news as it was coming from the mouth of persons considered close to Gopabandhu, who was also closely connected with SoPS. Had the so called Will been instantly displayed before the public, might be, some of the public could have looked at the document critically and tried to study if it was genuine. But the document was kept a guarded secret and the public was fed with the information that SoPS had probated the Will a few years later and taken over The Samaja and Satyavadi Press in accordance with the wishes of Gopabandhu.
Now as I try to reach the base of SoPS’s control over The Samaja, I come across a document, published circumstantially in its edition of July 7, 1986, that depicts the true photo-copy of the Will of Gopabandhu.
It convinces me, that, the so-called Will is a fake Will.
The main reason of this, is that, Gopabandhu has not signed it.
It is claimed that the Will was dictated by Gopabandhu on his “death bed”. Did he died instantly after giving the dictation, so that he could not sign the Will? Not believable. The language and paragraphing of the Will, and the preferences of distribution of his properties inscribed therein, could not have been such, had Gopabandhu not been in a strong and stable condition at the time of giving the dictation. So, had he really given the dictation, he should have signed it. The absence of his signature on the Will document makes it clear that the Will is not genuine.
This is a serious phenomenon. The SoPS must come forward with authentic documents, if any under its possession, to establish that the Will on which it has occupied The Samaja is not a fraudulent document. Otherwise, it must have to relinquish The Samaja and the State must have to initiate necessary prosecution against the fraud.