**Bhubaneswar: ** The allegation of corruption levelled against senior BJD MP Baijayant Panda by former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Ajit Jogi on Wednesday received strong political reactions in Odisha on Thursday.
Reacting sharply, BJD vice-president and minister Damodar Rout said, “The time of allegation that Ajit Yogi is speaking of, the present BJP-led NDA was out of power. Rather it was Congress rule at the Centre then. And Ajit Yogi was a prominent Congress member and he is raising the issue when Congress MP Chidambaram was the Finance Minister. Baijayant Panda was not in Congress. Whatever loan waiver of Baijayant Panda was materialised it was during the Congress Government tenure. Why didn’t Ajit Yogi, despite being a prominent Congressman, raise voice against it then?”
BJD MLA Sameer Dash said, “It all depends on the veracity of the allegation. However, as the allegation has been made against an hon’ble MP of our party, only our party president and Chief Minister can take a call on it. Whatever future course of action if at all taken, he (Naveen Patnaik) can better brief you in this matter.”
Congress chief whip in Odisha Assembly Tara Prasad Bahinipati remarked, “The time the loan amount, related to Baijayant Panda, was waived, Ajit Yogi was in Congress then. He was Congress chief minister, Congress MP, Congress MLA etc. He should have raised the issue at the appropriate time then. Now he (Jogi) has left Congress. It’s all meaningless now. Willingly he has made it an issue to be in limelight.”
Odisha BJP general secretary Bhrugu Baxipatra said, “An allegation has been made. The allegation has been denounced by the person against who it has been levelled. Hence, it needs more investigation to unravel the truth. If investigation reveals anything wrong, BJP will then demand for punishment to the guilty found.”
According to Jogi’s allegations, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti should be probed for his alleged role in securing Foreign Investment Promotion Board’s approval for a media company – Ortel Communications owned by BJD MP Baijayant Panda.
Seeking a probe into the FIPB nod for Panda’s Ortel Communications, Jogi said the company got the approval at the same time as another media company for which Karti is being investigated.
He said Panda should be probed for his links with the Chidambarams as the former FM’s wife Nalini was a shareholder in Panda’s company IMFA which got a massive loan waiver from the Vajpayee government between 1998 and 2003.
Citing Vijay Mallya’s case, Jogi asked why the Centre was unwilling to act against IMFA inferring that Panda has close ties with BJP.