Bhubaneswar, Aug. 1: Former Odisha chief minister and Congress MP Hemananda Biswal has landed in a soup following an allegation that he had demanded Rs 5 lakh from an official of Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL).
MCL’s chairman-cum-managing director A.N. Sahay confirmed that he had received a letter from G.C. Bauri, general manager of the company’s branch office at Basundhara Garjan Bahal containing allegations against Biswal.
On the other hand, Biswal dismissed the allegation as “baseless and motivated”. The former chief minister even threatened to file a defamation suit against the officer, who was recently transferred from the Basundhara area. “He thinks that I am responsible for his transfer and is trying to get even with me,” said Biswal.
Bauri, in his letter to Sahay, said Biswal was demanding money to meet his office expenses. “Since my joining at Basundhara Garjan Bahal Biswal has called me several times to his residence and asked me to collect Rs 5 lakh from the contractors working in our areas every month for his office expenses.”
The officer in his letter also narrated how he had to recruit eight security personnel on the recommendation of Biswal, who, he said, now wanted him to appoint one of camp followers as a junior engineer.
In a bid to corner Biswal on the issue, the BJP and the BJD today demanded a CBI inquiry into the allegations. The BJD youth wing president Sanjay Dasburma said: “As Biswal belongs to the UPA, the MCL chairman is afraid of taking action against him.”
Demanding a CBI inquiry, Dasburma said Biswal had also been caught in a controversy over his scheduled tribe status. “The Congress demands CBI inquiry on trivial issues. The party should ask the UPA government to institute an inquiry into the charges brought against Biswal by the senior MCL official,” he said.
Odisha BJP president Jual Oram said: “I am going to write to the Prime Minister and the ethics committee of the Parliament on this issue.”