Bhubaneswar: Congress leader and MLA from Jagatsinghpur constituency, Arindam Sarkhel alias Bapi, Monday alleged that BJD heavyweight and former minister, Damodar Rout, was the ‘ring master’ in the Paradip crime syndicate.
Sarkhel, in a presser at a private hotel in the Capital, sought investigations into the alleged links of both Rout and his son with gangster Tito. Jyotikant alias Bapi Parida was recently arrested by the STF of Crime Branch for his alleged connections with Tito. Following his arrest, Rout came out in his support publicly.
Sarkhel said, “For the past five years, I have been relentlessly trying to take the lid off Paradip MLA Damodar Rout’s links with several dreaded criminals. I have been proved true.” He said that Paradip is one of the few industrially rich constituencies in the state. Several industries along with the port have come up in the last 30 years which attracted many business houses and businessmen. They engaged in various contract works at the port and industrial areas.
Sarkhel accused Rout of collecting huge sums of money from them on the pretext of providing them security and to run this business Rout has created many crime syndicates in Paradip of which he has been the ‘ring master’.
He alleged that Rout has close links with the persons who were behind the murder of young BJD leader Muna Pati in Paradip. He urged the state government to start a probe into the murder of Pati. Bapi Parida was the main accused in the murder of Pati. He claimed that Rout was disturbed with the rising popularity of Pati in Paradip area.
Sarkhel presented some documents in support of his claims of links between Rout and Pati. During his stint as the state health minister, Rout had written letters of recommendations to several companies and stevedores to grant projects to the Nirakar Dumpers Owners Association established by Bapi Parida. He produced such a letter of recommendation written on the association’s own letter pad.
He also produced many photos where Bapi was seen with Rout during party programmes at various places.
Following the allegations, Jagatsinghpur district BJD president Bishnu Das said he was scared of Dama Rout as he was the senior-most of BJD and can block his way. As far as action is concerned, Das said that action will be taken if Damo’s link with any criminal is established.
Reacting to this comment, Dama said “Bishnu Das is not of my stature.” He further alleged that Bishnu Das collects monthly donation from Bapi’s aide Santosh.
Rout retorted, “The whole world knows the identity and way of life of Bapi Sarkhel. He was in jail for three months for a murder case. He has obtained bail from Supreme Court. The state government has appealed for cancellation of his bail.”
Both Sarkhel and Tito are bosom friends and they have been looting there, he further alleged.
Advocating for Bapu Parida, Rout said, “He had been to jail for a year 10-12 years back in the Muna Pati murder case. But after being released from jail, he is not linked with any offence or any case lodged in any police station. I am into politics for the last 40 years. Can’t I know about any FIR filed and any crime committed in Paradip area?”
“The ongoing STF probe is into links with Tito. Instead of catching big fries, why catch hold of small ones? The brother of the person who had fired at Bapu Parida was instigated to file an FIR following which Bapu Parida was arrested,” Dama argued.
As per the Odisha Crime Branch’s STF, Parida has been nabbed for being one of the biggest associates of arrested gangster Tito.
Parida was arrested following a complaint lodged by one Jitendra Swain who alleged that the former along with other anti-socials have extorted money from him.