The Samaja in Deathbed: Crime Branch must address itself to Felonies perpetrated by Servants of the People Society

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Ulkalmani Pt. Gopabandhu Das’ newspaper The Samaja is a victim of felonies perpetrated by the Servants of the People Society.

I had, in these pages, exposed how possibly the SoPS has hijacked the paper and its press and properties by forging a Will of Gopabandhu after his sad demise.

Possibly, Pandit Lingaraj Mishra, then a life member of SoPS, with a motive to grab editorship of the popular paper by ensuring his society’s ownership over it, forged the Will. Mishra had a strong political ambition and the paper’s editorship had helped him tremendously in achieving the same.

Radhanath Rath, decorated with Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian award, for literature and education, in the specific field of journalism as editor of the Samaja, was hand-in-glove with Mishra and was the other highest beneficiary of the forgery if at all Mishra had done it. So, there was no inkling from Rath’s side on the suspected forgery, even though he knew that the purported Will lying under his custody was not signed by Gopabandhu.

After I stumbled upon the document that smacked of the forgery, I deemed it proper to place the matter before the public.

Editor of Janatantra, Vivekanand Dash translated my report into Oriya and published the same in the first fortnight edition of his paper in August 2012, thus making the information reach the readers beyond Internet.

On the other hand, an organization namely ‘Save The Samaja Forum’ (hereinafter called the Forum) was formed, which demanded that the SoPS must make its position clear on the issue of the suspicion that Gopabandhu’s will used by SoPS to occupy the Samaja, was not a genuine will, but a forged one.

The SoPS kept mum.

On the other hand, it forced the editor of the Samaja to black out the press statement of the Forum and, instead, to hurl abuses at the leaders of the Forum, which he did through a quarter-page display in the front page of the Samaja on 30 August 2012.

The forum has written to the Registrar of Newspapers for India to verify the ownership of the Samaja as the SoPS has no legitimacy, unless proved otherwise, in claiming ownership over the paper and, if the said society fails to produce the genuine will of Gopabandhu in original, to take action against it for filing of false declaration.

Utkalmani Pt. Gopabandhu Das is a national icon of Orissa. Capturing of his paper and property through a forged will is a crime that cannot be condoned. If the Crime Branch in Orissa is working with honesty, I believe, it will take up investigation into this felony and help us know – in view of total silence of SoPS in the matter – the entire gamut of the crime perpetrated and the entire amount of money swindled from the income of the Samaja by the SoPS and the two late editors – Lingaraj Mishra and Radhanath Rath – who were the ones that had, besides being the editors, headed the management of the paper as well as the Orissa branch of SoPS.

Contextually it may be mentioned here for attention of the Orissa Crime Branch that a captive investigation committee of SoPS, headed by Justice (Rtd) Arijit Pasayat is on records to have marked embezzlement of the Samaja funds to the tune to several hundreds of crores of rupees by certain members of SoPS and their cronies in the management of the Samaja, over and above misappropriation of massive amount of money in the Samaja office itself through fabricated records as unveiled by an earlier probe conducted by Dr. Nilakanth Rath.

So, by occupying the Samaja through a will of Gopabandhu that convincingly appears to be a forged document, the SoPS have created a menacing history of continuous corruption and misappropriation of the paper’s revenues.

The State cannot sit silently on this crime. Therefore, the Crime Branch must address itself to these felonies with immediate effect.

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