Witch-Hunting Honest Cops: Naveen Style
Biju Janata Dal (BJD) supremo and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has an unique and queer style of handling political and administratative matters. He never believes or relies on anyone. He uses leaders, bureaucrats and cops as ladder and after reaching top by over-utilising their acumen, ditches and banishes them into oblivion, astutely wearing the mask of honest, non-corrupt and no-nonsence statesman.
Biju Patnaik during his life-time never introduced any of his siblings to politics. Being neglected by his father, Naveen was leading a spartan life at Delhi. Father-son relationship was so strained that ailing Biju babu chose to die at Dilip Ray’s Delhi residence. Though Naveen was staying at Delhi at that time, he never bother to visit and serve his ailing father. In the absence of Biju babu, his close confidents decided to draft Naveen into Odisha politics to perpetuate ‘Biju legacy’. They thought that Naveen being a political novice, would be a puppet and dance to their tune. But Naveen after setting his feet firmly in Odisha politics, started displaying his true colours. He made the lives of real Biju followers so miserable that they either left the party or were shown the door. He executed these dirty works through ‘uncle’ Pyarimohan Mohapatra. Even Pyari uncle was not spared. Naveen never tolerates anyone, who has the potential to challenge him. Leaders like Bijay Kumar Mohapatra,Dilip Ray, Ramakrishna Patnaik and Prafulla Kumar Ghadei who were the pillars of the BJD are no more in the party. Bijay Mohapatra aptly describes Naveen as ‘snake under the carpet’. He bites when the victim does not have the slightest apprehension. He is delusion and illusion incarnate.
Naveen has a peculiar love-hate relationship with top bureacrats. He makes dirty administrative and political operations through them. They become powerful, influential by becoming his hatched men. They are rewarded by plum posts. Those who do not toe Naveen line are shunted away. It is also seen that some IAS officers after being disillusioned or disgusted by closely working under Naveen, prefer to go on central deputation.
This also happens in the case of IPS officers. Cops, however, inefficient or corrupt, if they show loyalty towards Naveen or the BJD and are ever-ready to do all types of dirty works like protecting the BJD leaders and unleasing terror to persons enemical to the BJD, and in return are given attractive postings as rewards. In the process honest, impartial and efficient cops have become the worst victim of politicisation of police. They are denied of prime postings. Some are shunted away and hounded out.
Recent iniquitous action taken against Mr Prakash Mishra, the 1977 batch IPS officer and one of the finest supercop of the country, has exposed the vendetta mindset of Naveen Patnaik . Mr Mishra presently serving as Special Secretary (Internal Security) with the Ministry of Home Affairs and the former DGP of Odisha police is slapped with vigilance case on corruption charges. He was appointed as the DGP in 2012. Before that he was Chairman-cum-CMD of Odisha State Police Housing and Welfare Corporation (OPHWC) from 2006 to 2009. State Vigilance allege that during this period Prakash Mishra showed undue favouritism to a particular private company in the supply of rods and cement to the OPHWC. In the Audit Report, it was found that though this company was given the contract of supplying building materials in the tune of nearly 58 crore rupees and was given money in advance still it did not supply all the material to time and till now 5 crore rupees is pending with it. So on the basis of this so-called Audit Report, State Vigilance has registered a case against Prakash Mishra under various sections of IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act.
But this Vigilance case has ulterior motives, feel observers. It raises more questions than answering. Firstly, it was not an open inquiry. Inquiring Vigilance Officers have not bothered to call Mr Prakash Mishra to present his side. Secondly, the special Audit Report on the basis of which the case has been slapped has not named him. Thirdly, why did state government slept for long seven years and suddenly awoke to such a so-called serious lapse or misappropriation. Fourthly, why Prakash Mishra was made the police chief of the state if such corruption charges were against him? The most important question is about the timing of registration of the FIR. Is it a deliberate and calculated plot to defame an honest cop and scuttle his chance of becoming the CBI chief ?
It is to be remembered that after serving the IB, the CBI and the NIA brilliantly under central deputation, Prakash Mishra was handpicked by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to become the State Police Chief in 2012. He was then the blue eyed boy of Naveen . But he fell from the grace for his strict and impartial conducts. During 2014 General and Assembly poll, he is believed to have busted the plan of the BJD government to distribute crores of money to voters and foiled it. From that moment, Naveen had decided to punish this honest cop for his audacity. So, when Naveen assumed power for the fourth time the first thing he did was to remove Prakash Mishra unceremoniously from the DGP and banish him to Odisha State Road Transport Corporation. When he wished to go on central depution, first he was given NOC, but in an afterthrought the permission was denied on the ruse that there is acute shortage of the IPS officers in the state. After Home Minister Rajnath Singh personally took up the matter with the CM only then he was released to central posting. Now when the race for next CBI Director has started and Prakash Mishra being one of the senior most IPS officers, is being considered for this prestigious post, again Odisha government has come out with Vigilance case only with the purpose of scuttling his chance. He is generally a mild and soft spoken person and shies away from media glare. But he is so shocked that he has been forced to clarify his position through media. It is learnt that the IPS fraternity in Odisha has been divided into two distinct camps, one of Odia IPS officers and another of non-Odia IPS officers. With the tacit backing of Naveen Patnaik, himself a non-Odia speaking person,the second camp has become powerful. The present DGP and Vigilance DG are close pals and they are leading non-Odia IPS lobby. The result is clear: framing of vigilance case against Prakash Mishra. This otherwise affable IPS officer has expressed his grouse that it is a conspiracy to prevent an Odia officer from becoming CBI Director. It is said that Naveen babu fears if Prakash Mishra becomes CBI chief, then he would certainly expediate CBI investigations of various scams of the BJD government. So he has stooped so low.
Witch-hunting and victimisation of supercops of Odisha by Naveen is not new. Two other DGPs Amarananda Pattnaik and Manmohan Praharaj have faced similar fates. Of course they were removed from their posts by Naveen at the behest of Pyarimohan Mohapatra, who was then controlling the reins of administration. The crime commited by Amarananda Patnaik was to initiate inquiry into the clandestine activities of ‘Seashore’ company. As that company was getting political patronage of Pyarimohan, so Amarananda had to face the music. The only fault of Manmohan Praharaj was to organize anti-Maoist operation by Odisha Police. Pyarimohan being a self-proclaimed leftist, how could he tolerate action against Ultra-Reds. So Monmohan had to be removed from the DGP post. CM Naveen knowing everything approved the incongruous removal of honest, efficient, upright cops. But the police officers dancing to the tune of Naveen Patnaik should remember that he is not true to anybody. Their infatuated loyalty to such an infidel politician may land them in trouble in future.
By Shiva Narayan Singh from Bhubaneswar