The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Probe demand into Vedanta ‘bribe’ deal

Bhubaneswar, July 4: The Opposition today demanded a CBI probe into the payment of contributions to various political parties of the state from the Vedanta Trust and the amount of money spent by the ruling parties during the recent polls.

Raising the demand during a debate on the budgetary demand for grants relating to the home department in the Assembly, the Congress deputy leader, Narasingha Mishra, said the Vedanta Group had set up a trust which finances political parties.

Mishra alleged that there was a huge flow of funds from the trust to the ruling parties in the state which played a crucial role in the recent panchayat polls.

There should be an independent and thorough probe by the CBI on the role played by the Vedanta Trust and how much money was spent by the ruling parties in the recent panchayat polls, demanded the former law minister.

“Chief minister Naveen Patnaik, who always says that law will take its own course, should come forward to order an independent probe to ensure high probity in political life,” he said.

The issue was earlier raised by the Orissa Gana Parishad leader, Arun Dey, during a discussion yesterday on an adjournment motion relating to the Vedanta alumina project in Kalahandi.

Dey had alleged that the chairman of the Vedanta Group, Anil Agarwal, in his annual general body meeting in London last year had spoke of contributing £250m for politicians to India.

“Since Vedanta’s interests are in Orissa it is imperative that a large part of the money would have gone to the present BJD-BJP regime,” he said triggering protests from treasury benches.

Mishra said that Naveen, who professes honesty, had not implemented the recommendation of the ethics committee of the Assembly for disclosure of property list of ministers.

“It’s high time that the government should conduct an inquiry by the CBI or state vigilance into the properties of ministers. If any minister is found to be in possession of assets disproportionate to his known source of income, he should be taken to task,” he demanded.

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