BHUBANESWAR: Gopalpur MLA Pradeep Panigrahy’s challenge to BJD to spell out his ‘anti-people activities’ that formed the basis of his expulsion was met with a strong counter by the ruling party which detailed how the former minister went hopping from one city to another and was busy in merry-making along with his family and would-be son-in-law Akash Pathak by splurging when the State was fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.
Panigrahy was expelled from BJD for his involvement in huge corruption which includes cheating people by assuring them jobs, BJD spokesperson Pratap Deb told mediapersons. “The Chief Minister would not have initiated action if he did not have facts against Panigrahy. These are anti-people activities,” he said.
“The Chief Minister consciously used the word anti-people as it is very insensitive and inhumane display of power and arrogance,” he said. Stating that Panigrahy was flying in charter planes when common people were fighting for lives, Deb said, the former minister stayed in five-star hotels in Mumbai and New Delhi when people were not getting food due to Covid-19 pandemic.
When it was life and death situation for common man in Ganjam, his activities were not only insensitive but also showed lack of commitment as a people’s representative, he said.Deb alleged that Panigrahy along with Pathak family travelled in charter flights and stayed in Hotel Taj in Mumbai in August when Ganjam was battling the pandemic peak. In Mumbai, along with Pathak family, Panigrahy spent about ` 84 lakh at Hotel Taj, he said and added, they spent lakhs in Taj Palace Hotel in New Delhi too.
Such callous and negligent behaviour of Panigrahy is shameful and has exposed his anti-people activities. He has cheated people of Ganjam with Akash. Panigrahy and Akash ran a racket of taking large sums of money from people of Ganjam for jobs in Tata, he alleged.
Meanwhile, Panigrahy has alleged that his relatives and supporters are being subjected to custodial torture by police following his expulsion from the party. In a letter to the Chief Minister, he alleged that police are using coercive measures on them to give statement against him. Government is misusing its agencies to harass me and my family members, he added.
Though no official complaint has been lodged, police are picking up relatives and family members at midnight in order to coerce them to lodge FIR against him, he claimed.