Dharmendra Pradhan should resign on moral grounds: Pratap Deb

Dharmendra Pradhan should resign on moral grounds: Pratap Deb

Bhubaneswar : The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Thursday demanded the resignation of Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan alleging that the allocation of a petrol pump to gangster Syed Usman Ali alias Tito by Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) has exposed the nexus between the gangster and the Union Minister.

Ms Sayed Brothers Filling Station at Badahat in Kendrapara town in Kendrapara district owned by Tito and his family members. The petrol pump was inaugurated in December 2015. Besides, IOCL granted permission to Tito to set up another petrol pump at Paradip in Jagatsinghpur district in 2017.

“While IOCL was aware of the criminal background of Tito, Pradhan granted permission to the gangster to set up the petrol pump. The nexus between Pradhan and the gangster is now becoming clear. Therefore, he should resign on moral grounds,” BJD Rajya Sabha member and spokesperson Pratap Keshari Deb said.

Deb told this to reporters in Delhi a day after the IOCL demanded a CBI probe into the matter. Deb said the corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds collected from petrol pumps in Odisha directly go to the IOCL which is under the direct supervision of the Union Minister.

Since the petrol pump falls under the Paradip port and is owned by the IOCL, there are different rules of allocation and the owner of the petrol pump did not meet the eligibility criteria, he said.

Deb also questioned the IOCL’s demand for a CBI probe when the state government had already ordered a crime branch investigation into the alleged irregularities in the allocation of the fuel station.

Notably, the Special Task Force (STF) of the Crime Branch had sealed the two fuel stations earlier this month. The fuel stations were registered in the name of Tito’s wife Benazir Bibi. Tito is facing more than 45 serious criminal cases including murder, attempt to murder and extortion.

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