Odisha: BJD’s Soumya Patnaik, another MLA expelled over ‘anti-people activities’ - Hindustan Times
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Odisha: BJD’s Soumya Patnaik, another MLA expelled over ‘anti-people activities’

ByDebabrata Mohanty
Sep 21, 2023 03:26 PM IST

The EOW of the Odisha Police claimed that Odia daily newspaper ‘Sambad’, owned and edited by media baron Soumya, was running a “meticulously organised loan scam” in which at least ₹50 crore loan was taken from various banks using forged salary certificates of its employees

The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Odisha on Thursday expelled senior MLA Soumya Ranjan Patnaik and Remuna MLA Sudhanshu Sekhar Parida from the party, accusing them of indulging in ‘anti-people activities’, following allegations from the state Economic Offences Wing (EOW) which accused him of a 50 crore loan fraud using forged salary certificates of its employees.

Senior MLA Soumya Ranjan Patnaik (File Photo)
Senior MLA Soumya Ranjan Patnaik (File Photo)

The one-page expulsion note signed by BJD president and chief minister Naveen Patnaik came a week after Soumya was stripped of the post of the party’s vice president for allegedly writing critical editorials in his Odia daily against the chief minister and his private secretary VK Pandian.

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“On an FIR (first information report) by an ex-employee of Sambad Newspaper, a case under sections 506/467/468/471/420/120-B IPC (Indian Penal Code) has been registered against him and others by Economic Offence Wing (EOW) of Odisha. Many ex-employees of Sambad newspaper have made similar allegations with EOW Odisha. It is a serious case of organised bank fraud involving loan worth crores of rupees taken in the name of more than 300 employees of Sambad by using fraudulent means and forged documents,” the expulsion order read.

The EOW of the Odisha Police claimed that Odia daily newspaper ‘Sambad’, owned and edited by media baron Soumya, was running a “meticulously organised loan scam” in which at least 50 crore loan was taken from various banks using forged salary certificates of its employees.

Three days ago, the EOW raided the office of Sambad, claiming that more than 300 employees were forced to sign forged documents and about Rs.50 crore was fraudulently secured by the Saoumya between 2018 and 2023 using forgery and coercion.

The EOW investigation into the Odia daily started after a former employee lodged a complaint last week under IPC 506, 467, 468, 471, 420, and 120 B.

The EOW said a 5 lakh loan was sanctioned to the employees by a bank in an easy money loan scheme on grounds of house building/house repair.

“Almost all loan processes followed the same pattern. 5 lakh loan was sanctioned to the employees under the easy money loan scheme of the bank on grounds like house/house repair. Forged salary certificates were submitted by Sambad. There was a huge difference between the actual salary and the salary certificate produced by Sambad,” a senior EOW official said.

For the past few months, Soumya has been attacking the chief minister and his private secretary Pandian, through his newspaper columns decrying the lack of democracy in the party.

Last month, in the front page editorial, Soumya compared the tour expenses of Pandian to all the districts with the Chandrayaan 3 mission.

In his writings, he asked if officers were more important than ministers while urging Pandian to resign from the post of IAS and join politics.

The BJD suspended Remuna MLA over allegations that he siphoned off Rs.3 crore government subsidy amount meant for farmers during purchase of paddy harvester during 2017-18 and 2019-20.

In 2021, a complaint was filed before the Odisha Lokayukta against Parida, accusing him of swindling money which was meant to subsidise farm equipment purchased by Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes beneficiaries between 2017 and 2020.

The firm headed by Parida used to first credit the purchase amount of the paddy harvesting machine to the bank accounts of beneficiaries and then transfer the account back to its account, taking the help of middlemen. The Lokayukta is probing the case.

Patnaik thought all his ministers as incapable for which he gets his work done by the private secretary.

BJD also suspended Remuna MLA Sudhansu Sekhar Parida over allegations that he siphoned off 3 crore government subsidy amount meant for farmers during purchase of paddy harvester during the period of 2017-18 and 2019-20. In 2021, a complaint was filed before the Odisha Lokayukta, against Parida accusing him of swindling money that was meant to subsidise farm equipment purchase by Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes beneficiaries between 2017 and 2020. The firm headed by Parida used to first credit the purchase amount of the paddy harvesting machine to the bank accounts of beneficiaries and then transfer the account back to its account, taking the help of middlemen. The Lokayukta is probing the case.

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