By Sukanta Mohanty & Deepak Mohapatra
Bhubaneswar, Feb. 12: More embarrassment for Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik. Senior BJD leader Dr Damodar Rout has has suggested for removal of V K Pandian, his private secretary, for his alleged interference in state administration.
“In the past, chief minister Naveen Patnaik has set precedent of removing people on moral grounds so there’s nothing wrong in removing the Indian Administrative Officer (IAS) V K Pandian from his present position if there are allegations against him,” said Dr Rout, adding, he was also removed by the CM from his ministerial post in a similar fashion.
“If there are allegations against an officer under him (CM), what is the problem in removing him even if the news items aired on different television channels and published in newspapers are sponsored? I was also removed from my position over a communal issue,” he said.
In fact, the septuagenarian Dr Rout was removed from the council of minister after Brahmin communities alleged that he had made some “unsavoury” comments against them in Malkangiri district.
The veteran BJD leader, however, condemned the attack on the IAS officer’s residence by the BJP activists on Saturday.
On Saturday, the BJP activists had ransacked the residence of V K Pandian’s residence alleging his interference in the state administration.
Mr Pandian is presently posted in the Chief Minister’s Office as his private secretary.
Earlier, two leading BJD leaders – Kendrapara Lok Sabha member Baijayant Panda and former MLA Rama Ranjan Baliarsingh – had alleged interference of Mr Pandian in the day-today administration.
On Sunday, Union petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan had lambasted the CM Mr Patnaik for trying to shield his private secretary Mr Pandian.
While talking on the sidelines during campaigning for BJP’s candidate for Bijepur assembly bypoll in Bargarh district, Mr Pradhan questioned why had the CM come in defence of his officer now while he kept mum over similar incidents in the past.
“The CM and his party have condemned the attack but why was he silent during three similar incidents that had occurred in 2017. Why the CM and the officers’ bodies were silent after mob ransacked the residence of IAS officer Rashmita Panda, Sanjay Singh and when few people stormed into the residence of the then minister Dr Damodar Rout?” he asked.