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Explain CBI boss’ courtesy call: BJP to CM

Bhubaneswar, March 4: The BJP today demanded that chief minister Naveen Patnaik should clarify what transpired between him and CBI director Ranjit Sinha when the latter called on him yesterday.

BJP state spokesperson Suresh Pujari said: “It is unlikely for a CBI director to come and stay at the Raj Bhavan and later meet the chief minister without any purpose. Both the CBI director and Naveen should clear the air by issuing a statement.”

Pujari raised the issue of how the CBI director, who is a government employee and not a constitutional authority, was allowed the hospitality of Raj Bhavan.

“When the state is facing a crisis because of mining and deposit collection scams, the CBI director’s coming to the state and staying here for nearly four days is bound to raise eyebrows. The issue needs to be clarified,” Pujari said,

Referring to the CBI director’s description of his visit as a “courtesy call” on the chief minister, Pujari said: “We don’t believe this because it is unusual for CBI directors to meet chief ministers. CBI director meeting Naveen when a the possibility of an inquiry by the central agency into mining and deposit collection scams is being discussed is bound to raise doubts in public mind.”

Odisha Pradesh Congress Campaign Committee chairman and Union minister Srikant Jena said: “I don’t know about the purpose of Singh’s visit to the state. He must be discharging his duties.”

Jena said as there had been rampant loot of minerals worth Rs 60,000 crore and the Justice M.B. Shah Commission has favoured a CBI inquiry into it, the CBI should initiate steps to arrest the culprits involved in the mega scam.

“Those involved in the mining scam are being protected by the BJD. Such massive loot would not have been possible without the knowledge of Naveen. In fact, Naveen is encouraging all these things,” Jena said.

Naveen is under the scanner of the CBI for recommending to the coal ministry allocation of the Talabira–II coal block to private industrial houses.

On the issue of the mining scam, the state government, in its action-taken report, has made it clear that there is no need for a CBI inquiry.

On coal allocation, the state has taken a stand that it had done nothing wrong by making recommendations.

Alliance dilemma

The BJP is yet to take a call on the issue of making alliance with the small regional parties.

“If we take the demands of all the regional parties into account, their demand for contesting the Assembly elections will touch 140 seats. They should have a realistic approach,” said a BJP leader.

Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley and party’s Odisha affairs in-charge Chandan Mitra today left for New Delhi after failing to convince the leaders to go for an alliance with regional parties. They have left the decision to the state unit.