Bhubaneswar, Dec 8 (LocalWire) Most of the ministers in Hemanand Biswal cabinet in the late eighties had turned down the Chief Minister’s order and flatly said ‘no’ for disclosure of their movable and immovable assets.
If the autobiographical account of veteran politician and former minister Bhagabat Prasad Mohanty, who passed away today, is to be believed, only ten out of 25 strong council of ministers headed by Biswal had come forward in furnishing the details of their property.
The anecdote dated back to (7 December 1989 to 5 March 1990) when Biswal had donned the mantle of chief minister for a brief period.
“As many as 15 ministers of Biswal-led cabinet had defied the chief minister’s command and flatly refused to furnish the assets list to the government”, according to “Sangramara Swaralipi’, the autobiography authored by late leader.
Mohanty’s probity and integrity in public life had invited the wrath of party colleagues including ministers and chief ministers in the eighties and nineties.
“The chief minister Hemanand Biswal had asked the ministers to submit property list. Only ten ministers submitted the property list while 15 other ministers did not pay any heed to the CM’s direction.
I was first among the ministers to furnish the list”, the autobiography mentioned.
“It was a good initiative to establish probity in public life as politicians in Odisha were most discredited in the eighties and nineties.
It would have definitely sent a positive message to the public had the ministers submitted their property list to prove transparency in governance”, it said.
“I had given two proposals to Hemanand Babu (the then Chief Minister).
I had requested to drop the ministers who defied CM’s order and suggested constitution of a three-member probe committee headed by retired Chief Justice of Orissa High Court to detect the properties amassed by ministers disproportionate to their known source of income”, he said.
However, in a twist to the initiative, Biswal budged and altered his stand.
The then Pradesh Congress Committee President and former chief minister Nandini Satpathy had, however, later told him that the proposal has to be kept on hold by saying that then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi did not accord consent to it, Mohanty’s autobiography claimed.
The veteran politician was not in possession of immovable assets like land and building in Odisha’s major cities of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar, according to “Sangramara Swaralipi’ autobiography.