Bhubaneswar: The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Tuesday clarified the “anti-people” activities of Gopalpur MLA Pradeep Panigrahi which led to his expulsion from the party.
Speaking to media persons, BJD spokesperson Lenin Mohanty said at a time when Ganjam district was in the grip of COVID-19, Panigrahi was flying in charter planes and staying in luxurious hotels of Mumbai and Pune. He was cheating people of his own constituency and taking bribe from the unemployed youths promising to provide them jobs through Akash Kumar Pathak, the son of IFS officer Abhay Kant Pathak. Both father and son have been arrested.
“Panigrahi along with Pathaks travelled in charter flights and led an extravagant life while people of Ganjam were suffering from COVID-19. They spent about Rs 84 lakh for staying in the Hotel Taj in Mumbai. They had also spent lakhs at the Hotel Taj Palace in Delhi,” Mohanty said.
Mohanty further alleged that apart from being involved in land fraud, Panigrahi also duped 68 persons on the pretext of providing jobs through Askah and his father. Since Panigrahi breached people’s trust, party president Naveen Patnaik took stringiest action against him, Mohanty added.
In a press release, Manas Mangaraj, general secretary (media affairs) of the BJD, said the chief minister consciously used the word anti-people as Panigrahi displayed a very insensitive and inhuman display of power and arrogance which is characteristic of anti-people attitude.
The party’s another spokesperson Pratab Deb said, “The chief minister Naveen never takes a decision without genuine reason or valid proof. He is not controlled by anyone.”