BHUBANESWAR: The Congress on Sunday demanded the dismissal of Commerce and Transport Minister Padmanabha Behera from the Cabinet for submitting different versions regarding his educational qualification in the affidavits filed for four Assembly elections.
Congress spokesperson Nishikanta Mishra told media persons here on Sunday that in 2004 Assembly election which Behera contested from Phulbani reserved seat, he had mentioned in the affidavit that he had passed HSC examination from TR and W High School at Katagarh in Kandhamal district in 1972. However, in the affidavits filed for 2009 and 2014 Assembly elections which he contested from Birmaharajpur reserved seat, the Minister mentioned that he had passed Class X examination in 1973. Mishra claimed that in the affidavit submitted in 2019, the Minister stated that he had passed Class VIII from the TR and W High School at Katagarh.
Mishra said the Orissa High Court had asked Sonepur police to probe into the educational details of the minister. Alleging that the HC order has been violated, Mishra said the district police started investigation into the matter only on January 9, 2020, more than a month later. Criticising Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for not initiating any action on the High Court’s direction, the Congress spokesperson alleged that a deliberate attempt is being made to suppress the matter.
The Congress leader also demanded a clarification from the Chief Minister. “The Chief Minister should ask police to file a criminal case against the Minister for submitting false affidavit and dismiss him from the Cabinet immediately,” he said.The Minister, however, dismissed the allegations and said the Congress is unnecessarily making an issue out of nothing. “There is nothing wrong in the information submitted in my affidavits,” he said.