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Naveen Patnaik backs MLA arrested in Rs 10,000 crore chit fund scam

Unlike the previous occasions when he suspended his party’s lawmakers who were arrested by the CBI in connection with the Rs 10,000-crore chit fund scam, the Odisha chief minister and BJD chief Naveen Patnaik has now decided to “fully” back the party’s MLA Pravat Ranjan Biswal, who was arrested on Tuesday.

The BJD on Wednesday launched a massive demonstration campaign in front of the local CBI office alleging that it was “selectively” arresting its leaders at the instance of Modi government.

On Wednesday, hundreds of BJD youth wing activists tried to enter the CBI premises, prompting the police administration to impose prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC in the area.

Earlier, when BJD MP Ramachandra Hansda, MLA Prabhat Tripathy and former MLA Subarna Naik were arrested, Mr Patnaik had suspended them saying “law will take its own course.”

The BJD chief now apprehends the CBI, under pressure from the Modi government, might adopt its West Bengal formula and arrest more of his leaders in the chit fund scam, said sources.

He made this significant departure from his long-practiced principle after his close aides, including Rajya Sabha member Prasanna Acharya , reportedly suggested him not to suspend Biswal until a chargesheet is filed.

Meanwhile, sources said Biswal had received huge amount in his wife Laxmi Bilasini’s account for the smooth functioning of a private group of companies for their activities in and around Cuttack.

“Investigation revealed that the said accused had allegedly received huge amount into the account of his wife from the CMD of private group of companies/entities based at Odisha for their smooth functioning in and around Cuttack area,” the source said.

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