SEC asks steel and mines minister’s office to file FIR
STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
Bhubaneswar/Angul, 3 September
The Opposition Congress and BJP stepped up the heat on Steel and Mines Minister Rajanikanta Singh even as the State Election Commission directed the Mines Department to file an FIR  to find out who actually faxed the letter containing a list of probable BJD candidates for the municipal polls from its office to the office of Collector, Angul.
Action taken in this regard must be given to the commission within two days, said the Commission after taking into account the plea of the department and the office of the minister that they were ignorant of the faxed list of candidates.
Mr Singh had also pleaded ignorance and stated that it was not within his knowledge.
It may be noted that the state government had transferred  Angul Collector  Aravind Agarwal and suspended his personal assistant following the alleged violation of model code of conduct.
Meanwhile, the BJP mounted pressure on the minister by staging a dharna in front of the Angul district collectorate. BJP activists led by former MP Mr Rudranarayan Pany demanded Mr Singh’s resignation.
"To ensure free and fair elections, the minister, who happens to be the local MLA, should be sacked. One cannot adopt different yardsticks for officers and ministers," he said.
The Congress which has petitioned the state election commission demanding action against the Minister today alleged that the ruling BJD has been freely misusing government offices and directing police officers for electoral purposes. We request the state election commission to ensure free and fair polls. The CM Naveen Patnaik is scheduled to launch his municipal poll campaign from 5 September and the Commission should keep a close watch, said state Congress leaders.
The Opposition parties regretted that the Commission had not taken cognizance of the complicity of the government and the CM in the agitation that had resulted in postponement of civic elections in as many as nine districts of western Odisha.