BERHAMPUR: The Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday demanded action against the ruling party leaders for their alleged links with ganja and gemstone smuggler Jitendra Behera. Addressing mediapersons, district BJP president Siba Sankar Ulaka said Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik must initiate disciplinary action against the MLAs, MP and Minister having ties with the smuggler.
Police arrested Behera and seized 151 kg of gemstones from his house in Rayagada town on Tuesday. “Behera was in illegal trade since long with help of elected representatives of BJD. Hence, these leaders should be expelled from the ruling party and a high level inquiry conducted into their role,” Ulaka alleged.
The smuggler was close to ST/SC Development, Minorities and Backward Classes Minister Jagannath Saraka, Rajya Sabha Member Bhaskar Rao, former MP Jhina Hikaka, Gunupur MLA Raghunath Gamang and Rayagada BJD president Sudhir Das. Behera has posted several photographs with these leaders on his social media account, the BJP leader alleged.
Ulaka said the Chief Minister expelled Gopalpur MLA Pradeep Panigrahy for his links with IFS officer Abhay Kant Pathak and son Akash. Since the link of several BJD leaders with Behera have been already proved, he should expel them too from BJD.
“This illegal trade was being carried out by a team and Behera was a pawn in the racket. The money earned from the trade was distributed among ruling party leaders. The case should be handed over to CBI as elective representatives of the ruling party have amassed huge property,” the BJP alleged.
BJP will hit the streets and launch a mass agitation if no action is taken against accused BJD leaders, Ulaka threatened.Among others, Rayagada town BJP president Shyam Sundar Das and senior leader Basant Ulaka were present.