Former Odisha MP Bhaskar Rao used to provide financial assistance to Naxals: Congress

Bhubaneswar: Former BJD Rajya Sabha MP from Rayagada Nekkanti Bhaskar Rao used to provide financial assistance to Naxals in Odisha, alleged Congress media cell chairperson Ganeswar Behera in a presser held here today.

“The former MP has been extending financial support to the Naxals. Besides, Rayagada Truck Owners’ Association has filed an FIR with the Rayagada police on April 18 that N Bhaskar Rao has been involved in misappropriation of Association’s funds,” Ganeswar Behera alleged.

“Recently, some office-bearers of the Rayagada truck owners’ association were asked by Bhaskar Rao to give extortion money on the pretext of giving it to Naxals. The outfit members have lodged an FIR that they used to give extortion money at Rs 50 per tonne for over the last 40 years. Why the local police have remained tight-lipped in this regard? Is the law taking its own course?” the Congress media cell Head questioned.

“Ruling BJD claims that it has been fighting against the Naxal movement. On the contrary, some of its leaders are involved in the extortion of money to extend financial assistance to the anti-social elements. The State government had earlier said in its White Paper placed before the Legislative Assembly that, in 2022, about 12 incidents of violence were carried out by Naxals in Odisha. At least seven Naxals were killed and 12 others were arrested during the same period,” the senior Congress leader stated.

Bhaskar Rao was taking Rs 5000 per truck from us in 2005. However, it was reduced to Rs 3000 in 2006 after protest from members. Later, we were charged Rs 50 per tonne of load. We were threatened that if we fail to adhere to these then our trucks won’t get consignments. The money collected from us were given to Naxals, a truck owner claimed.

On the other hand, the Opposition BJP has also levelled similar allegations against Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leaders.

“It is quite unfortunate and in the past also it came to the fore that BJD leaders were in contact with the Naxals. The party claims that they are into wiping out Naxal movement in the state. In reality, they are with the extremist group,” Dillip Mallick, BJP spokesperson said.

The former parliamentarian, however, refuted the allegations levelled against him.

“I categorically deny the allegations against me. If they (truck owners’ association) have any kind of evidence against me, they can hand it over to any investigating agency for probe,” Rao said in his response.

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