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.

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  1. Media had openly written about hushing up the Mesco-steel case (Insight Orissa-dated 17.5.2005). Briefly, the then chief secretary R.K. Bhujabal with additional chief secretary S.B. Mishra, additional development commissioner S.M. Patnaik, finance secretary Prasanna Mishra, industry secretary D.C. Gupta and Ipicol chairman Santosh Nautiyal sanctioned Rs. 20 crores loan to Mesco against forged shares given by chairman J. K. Singh and his wife MD Reeta Singh. This was from 130 crores collected by Govt of Orissa through Steel bond in 1994. As per valuation report of IDBI in 1996, MESCO’s proposed Duburi steel project with 6 lakh tonne capacity per annum needed Rs 457 crore out of which Rs 271.25 crore was to be the loan amount. Later, MESCO chairman J.K. Singh hiked the value of the project by Rs 150 crore and asked Ipicol to grant Rs 20 crore against its shares. The loan was sanctioned with the signature of the them Ipicol MD Aditya Prasad Padhi. MESCO deposited forged shares, the original of which had been placed before IDBI for another loan. The case was covered up under orders of Sri U.S. Mishra, Director, with help of Sri Bk. Sharma, DD(Est) with Sri Naba Kishor Das (changing parties to be in power) as middle man. The report had concluded that though gross indiscretion was made by a host of officials to provide a Rs 17 crore loan to MESCO through the Industrial Promotion and Investment Corporation of Orissa Ltd (Ipicol), the officials cannot be faulted as there existed no specific rules and guidelines regarding such matters.Despite being well aware of criminal back-ground of Mesco, it has been given lease of 3 mines-Roida, Malangatoli and Kalinga-in Keonjhar and Jajpur districts of Orissa (Ref-2007 report of Mesco steel). Almost free mines to this firm has allowed the firm to clear 340 crore loans from IDBI/LIC/IFCI within a year and in addition it is planning to invest 2.4 billion dollars (about Rs 100 billion rupees) as per report in Hindu Business Line , 6 February, 2008. At least 200 billion rupees has been lost by state which was gain of this fraud firm.

  2. Pingback: Advocate General quits and faces CBI; Justice Laxmikant Mohapatra be probed now | Orissa Matters

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