Naveen’s ‘Zero-Tolerance’ Policy Goes For A Toss With Ministers Embroiled In ‘Unholy’ Acts

Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s ‘zero-tolerance’ towards crime against women policy has come under the cloud post-Mamita Meher’s sensational murder.

Minister of State for Home Dibya Shankar Mishra is in the dock over his alleged close links with Govinda Sahu, the main accused. He was blamed for Sahu’s dramatic escape from police barrack at Titlagarh on October 18, after photos and videos of the duo surfaced.

The brutality of the pre-planned murder clearly hints at political patronage, alleged the Opposition while threatening to intensify the demand for his removal from the post for a fair probe in the case. The minister has also been accused of brokering a compromise between Mamita and Sahu at his Raipur residence.

Also Read: From Shielding Murder Accused To Brokering Deal, Odisha Home Minister In Allegations Soup

With more skeletons tumbling out of the closet, BJP state president Samir Mohanty sought a clarification from the CM on whether the investigation of the case will be handed over to CBI or any action will be taken against the minister concerned.

Notably, Naveen had sacked over a dozen ministers for alleged corruption or wrongdoing during the first decade of he being in office starting March 2000.

The most recent was the resignation of the then Agriculture and Panchayati Raj Minister, Pradeep Maharathy, in 2019 for his remarks over the recent acquittal of accused persons in the seven-year-old Pipili gang-rape and murder case.

Naveen, however, seems to have turned a blind eye to the controversies involving his ministers and lawmakers in the fifth term.

Not only Dibya Shankar, Pratap Jena, Arun Sahoo, Ranendra Pratap Swain and Prasant Jagdev have also courted controversy in the recent past. While Jagdev was suspended from the party for assaulting a Dalit leader of BJP, no action has yet been taken against the three ministers.

Jena continues in the Cabinet notwithstanding his alleged involvement in the murder of two BJP leaders in his constituency, Mahanga. While police filed a chargesheet without naming him, the magistrate ordered a fresh investigation into the case.

“Law Minister Pratap Jena was involved in Mahanga double murder while Prasant Jagdev had assaulted a Dalit. Now, the name of Dibya Shankar Mishra has cropped up in Mamita murder case, but the Chief Minister has remained mum all this while,” Congress spokesperson Debasish Patnaik told a presser this afternoon.

Cooperation Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain and his brother Birendra were accused by farmers of loan fraud. The cooperative scam worth crores was allegedly carried out through the Cuttack Central Cooperative Bank’s (CCCB) Athagarh branch when Birendra was working as its president.

Agriculture Minister Arun Sahoo’s name cropped up in the sensational abduction and murder of a 5-year-old girl in Nayagarh. He was blamed by the BJP for allegedly shielding the prime accused.

However, the ministers in question have been able to retain their posts in the Naveen Patnaik-led government.

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