New Delhi: Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has sought the resignation of Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan over allocation of a petrol pump to alleged gangster Tito in Paradip and other related irregularities.
At a press conference held in New Delhi Thursday by party spokesperson Pratap Keshari Deb and BJD vice president and Rajya Sabha member Prasanna Acharya, Deb alleged that the recent case of irregularities in the IOCL-owned petrol pump at Paradip and the sudden transfer of the case from the Crime Branch to the CBI smelled a rat and questioned the minister’s silence and role in it.
Deb said, “The press release of IOCL where it said the minister had ordered a CBI inquiry for one petrol pump raised eyebrows. To complicate the matter, the IOCL itself has accepted that there are some lacunae in allocating the petrol pump. So, the question now is if they knew about the lacunae did they conduct an inquiry? Was the minister informed about this and what he did?”
The BJD spokesman also said, “Now when the Crime Branch has zeroed in on the issue, suddenly the idea comes to bring in CBI. Does the CBI take simple cases of petrol pumps? We want to know if the minister wants to shrug off the responsibility. Question also arises if the minister wants to protect somebody or some government officials. So we want a clarification from the minister.”
The party also took on Pradhan and said that the former’s alleged connection with the criminal syndicate is evident from a couple of cases in the past. Citing examples, he hinted at the murder case of BJD leader during Bijepur elections, murder of councillor at Chhatrapur and his alleged appearance with a criminal in an event in Cuttack.
Meanwhile, state BJP spokesperson Pitambar Acharya said, “The Union Petroleum Minister, to prove the purity of IOCL under his ministry, handed over the case to CBI as it is the agency to probe matters related to such organisations.”
“Is the CBI trying to shield any politician or nab actual culprit? How a person with criminal background managed to get a petrol pump?” the Leader of Opposition and Congress leader Narasingha Mishra asked.