Intro: Whenever any crisis crops up in the arena of administration or politics, Naveen Patnaik chooses a good officer to make him a scapegoat in order to ensure the durability and security of his chair.
Honesty, integrity and dutifulness of highly posted government officers have been proved fatal for their careers, during the tenure of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. Witch-hunting of upright civil servants is the old style of Naveen Patnaik , the mysterious man , the supremo of ruling party i.e. Biju Janata Dal (BJD). Whenever any crisis crops up in the arena of administration or politics, Naveen chooses a good officer to make him a scapegoat in order to ensure the durability and security of his chair. He never believes anyone nor puts reliance upon anybody. The leaders of his party, his ministers, senior bureaucrats, high –ranking police officers are just “use-and-throw” materials for Naveen. Many good and upright officers have been shown the path of banishment into oblivion during Naveen’s rule, being rewarded for their good works! Senior IAS officers like Prafulla Chandra Mishra, Dr Hrusikesh Panda, Jugal Kishor Mohapatra , Sudarshan Nayak, Dr Tara Dutta , senior Indian Police Services (IPS) officers and former Director General of Police (DGPs) like Amarananda Patnaik, Manmohan Praharaj, Prakash Mishra (the proposed new Chief of CBI) are the ugliest instances of this nature.
Former DGP, senior IPS officer Shri Prakash Mishra is the latest victim of such political vendetta conditioned by blind selfishness under Naveen government. The unblemished career of this honest and highly efficient officer of 1977 batch seems to have been put under uncertainty. When the grapevine was aware of his being the forerunner for the post of Director of CBI, suddenly a FIR has been lodged by the State Vigilance alleging that certain lacunas are detected through Audit of the accounts of Odisha State Police Housing & Welfare Corporation Ltd., where some years before, Mishra was functioning as CMD (from 2006-2009). Now Prakash Mishra has been stationed at New Delhi as Special Secretary (Internal Security) under Union Home Department.
The allegation of Vigilance against Mishra, which is captioned under various punitive provisions of IPC and Prevention Of Corruption Act is only confined to the extent that during his tenure as the CMD, undue favouritism was extended to a particular private firm for supply of construction materials. The specific allegation is that 58 crore rupees were sanctioned to such private firm under a contract for supply of construction materials, the firm failed to supply within contracted period and as such 5 crore of rupees are due on that private firm. Shri Mishra completed his tenure as CMD in 2009 and he, thereafter adorned significant posts in IB, CBI and NIA. When he was on central deputation, in 2012 he was chosen by the State government to become the DGP of the State police. At that time no such allegations were made against Prakash Mishra.
Mishra inherited both fortunes and misfortunes from his predecessor, former DGP, Manmohan Praharaj who was forced to step down from the post of DGP, being victimised by wrath of Naveen. It is said that strong determination and drastic actions of Praharaj towards curbing Naxal menace and delving into Chit-fund financial offences, put him under fire and he resigned from service in a blasphemous circumstance just like former DGP Amarananda Patnaik. Sources say, Naveen was searching for an officer who would not only be competent but also remains subservient to the CM’s desire! Prakash Mishra was handpicked by Naveen for that reason vis-a-vis the fact that Mishra’s so-called bitter relationship with Pyarimohan Mohapatra, once the mentor and later turned to be foe of Naveen Patnaik. Mishra, as it is known to all, emerged as the most efficient and upright DGP of the State, he used to act in his own way and achieved exemplary success in different spheres like anti-terror insurgenc, control of law and order etc. He became popular among his staffs and common people. He preferred field work and travelled extensively to the Naxal affected areas of the state. Sometimes it became very usual to see DGP Prakash Mishra in combatant attire (not in usual Khaki uniform of DGP) while visiting his staffs deployed in Naxal areas, it boosted and ignited the courage of cops. Prakash Mishra along with his Additional DG Bijoy Kumar Sharma took strong steps against financial offenders like chit-fund scam etc. As a result of which many big people were taken to task unearthing commission of multi thousand crores of rupees economic offence. Sources say such step was not desirable for Naveen as many of his ministers; MLAs are involved in such financial irregularities. It is a known fact that during last Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, Mishra busted the ploy of ruling party BJD to distribute crores of money among voters, and foiled the same. This ultimately brought Prakash Mishra under the rage of Naveen and it was materialised after Naveen Patanik was sworn-in as CM for the fourth time. As soon as the new government entered into the corridors of power, Mishra became the first victim. He was removed from the post of DGP and was given a very negligible assignment as the Director of Road Transport Corporation, which is virtually a defunct one. Prakash Mishra, later, expressed his will for Central deputation. State government first showed a green signal but later denied to depute him to Centre. It may be the fear that if Mishra would go on Central deputation then he may open the Pandora’s Box of Naveen’s scam politics. However, it was the interference of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh for which the State government found no way out and Mishra virtually got a rescue from the vicious circle of dirty politics of Naveen government. Under this background, if analysed, then it is prudent to conclude that Prakash Mishra has been implicated in a vigilance case in Odisha which would be used against him as a solid weapon ensuring his non-incumbency as the CBI director, in spite of his eligibilities and competency for the same. Another aspect is apparent that by virtue of the Supreme Court’s directions, CBI is now probing into the multi thousand crores chit-fund scam of Odisha, wherein many heavy-weights of power- berth are said to be involved including the Ministers , (former) Advocate General (recently arrested) and Naveen himself. It is surely of immense risk for Naveen if Mishra becomes the CBI chief. It may pave Naveen’s way towards prison like Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa, as speculated by senior State BJP leader Bijoy Mohapatra. Again, it cannot be ruled out that Mishra has also become victimised by bureaucratic ill-feeling. The present DGP and the IG of Vigilance are said to be hand in glove to materialise Naveen’s desire against Mishra, says Shiva Narayan Singh, a Cuttack based senior journalist and political commentator. The old saying “dog does not eat a dog” is not applicable in this case of Prakash Mishra. In the arena of petty fogging bureaucracy, vested interest networks among the politicians and their nexus with dishonest bureaucrats turned intolerant enough to spike the elevation of an honest officer of Odisha cadre
just because he is not a bird of same feather.
Debasis Tripathy (The writer is an Advocate in High Court of Orissa and a Columnist)