Bhubaneswar: Opposition Congress on Wednesday demanded a statement from Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on his and his ministers' alleged involvement in the multi-crore chit fund scam in the state.
Raising the issue in the assembly during zero hour, Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra of Congress made the demand, a day after his party members stalled the House demanding a discussion on the issue.
"There is a storm in the ruling party and also in the government over the chit fund scam in which the ministers are allegedly involved. Fingers are being raised at the chief minister even. This is evident from the statements of senior ministers, MPs and MLAs," Mishra said seeking a ruling from Speaker Niranjan Pujari to Patnaik to give a statement in the House.
Quoting senior minister Damodar Rout, Mishra said, "He (Rout) has said a minister should maintain his own dignity in public life."
He said BJD leader in Lok Sabha Bhartuhari Mahtab has supported the opposition demand for state supplies and consumer welfare minister Sanjay Dasburma's resignation in the chit fund scam after the CBI issued notice to him.
"Even BJP MPs Nagendra Pradhan and Ladukishore Swain have given their remarks on the chit fund scam indicating a storm in the ruling party."
Mishra said state Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Bijayshree Routray had at a public meeting stated that junior ministers were busy fulfilling their personal agenda while seniors are dedicated to public service.
Referring to senior MP Pyarimohan Mohapatra, who was considered as the chief advisor to the chief minister till 2012, Mishra said, "Mohapatra has said that big fish are already there, Dasburma is just a small fry. Therefore, we want to know who are the big fish in the government and in the ruling party."
"The statements of senior BJD leaders, ministers and MPs are already in the public domain. Therefore, I will request the speaker to reconsider his decision and allow a debate on the chit fund scam in the House," he said.
Yesterday the speaker had turned down the opposition notice for a debate on the issue as the matter was sub-judice.
Government Chief Whip Ananta Das said there was no justification behind Mishra's demand. "As the BJD leaders and ministers have not made any such remark inside the House there is no reason for the chief minister to give a statement in the assembly."