The Financial Offences Wing (EOW) of Odisha Police on Sunday arrested the chief monetary officer (CFO) of a number one Odia TV channel over an allegation of land fraud triggering accusations of the federal government’s witchhunt in opposition to the channel.
Manoranjan Sarangi, the CFO of OTV was picked up from his house in Bhubaneswar by EOW officers on Sunday morning and arrested after lengthy interrogation in an alleged fraudulent land deal in Sarua, Khurda district. He was later forwarded to the court docket after a medical check on the Capital Hospital was performed within the night.
A press launch issued by the EOW stated Odisha InfraTech Pvt Ltd, during which Sarangi was one of many administrators, had bought land belonging to scheduled caste individuals circumventing guidelines/legal guidelines utilizing forgery/dishonest/intimidation and different doubtful strategies to trigger losses to them. Sarangi has been charged underneath sections 420/423/467/468/471/120-B of Indian Penal Code (IPC) together with sections three (1) (g) (q) of SC & ST (Prevention Of Atrocities) Act.
OTV channel is owned and operated by Jagi Mangat Panda, spouse of BJP’s nationwide vice-president and former MP Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda, friend-turned-bete noire of Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik.
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OTV’s working officer Litisha Mangat stated the CFO’s arrest was an indication of vendetta in opposition to the channel as everybody in Odisha is extensively conscious of the assaults on OTV. “Our channel has been fearless and protracted in reporting fact-based information a lot to their (authorities’s) displeasure. The 13 false circumstances filed in opposition to OTV within the final 2 months is manifestation of their rage in opposition to us. In a few of the circumstances, the courts have granted interim bail. No shock that they felt the necessity to fabricate one thing new.”
In an announcement issued final month, the Editors Guild of India had additionally condemned the Odisha authorities’s transfer in opposition to OTV. Early final month, senior OTV journalist Ramesh Rath was picked up by Keonjhar police in an alleged case of viral video involving BJD’s Keonjhar MP Chandrani Murmu. Rath later resigned from OTV.
The OTV CFO’s arrest was condemned by the Congress and the BJP. Senior Congress MP Saptagiri Ulaka stated the Odisha authorities appeared to be scared. “It’s a transparent case of vendetta which is attempting to curb the liberty of expression,” stated Congress MP from Koraput, Saptagiri Ulaka. BJP MP from Bhubaneswar, Aparajita Sarangi additionally requested if the Odisha authorities is afraid or it desires to cover one thing. Senior BJP chief and Sundergarh MP, Jual Oram stated, “The vindictive motion in opposition to OTV is a dastardly try and throttle the voice of media within the state.”
However BJD MP Amar Patnaik stated although Odisha Land Reforms Act prohibits the acquisition of SC land by non-SC individuals, Jay Panda used his unlettered driver, who occurred to be an SC, to purchase land at throwaway costs, who then offered these to his infra firm as he (the motive force) had a little bit an excessive amount of of land. “What sort of society have we come to dwell in the place the filthy wealthy are nonetheless impoverishing the poor of no matter little possession they’ve? Let’s all get up and lift a refrain of revolt! The facility needs to be with the poor,” tweeted Patnaik.