CBI's Interim Chief Accused Of Communal Speech By Left Leader

The opposition alleges that M Nageswar Rao has a record that is less than squeaky clean.

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CBI's Interim Chief Accused Of Communal Speech By Left Leader

Nageswar Rao faced a Public Interest Litigation in the Odisha High Court (File)


Kolkata: 

The CBI storm has revolved around mainly its chief Alok Verma and number two officer Rakesh Asthana till now. But now the man given interim charge of the country's top investigation agency is also in the media glare.

The opposition alleges that M Nageswar Rao has a record that is less than squeaky clean.

Among the allegations that he faces are communal comments made nearly two decades ago.

In 1999, Mr Rao faced a Public Interest Litigation in the Odisha High Court, filed by CPM leader Ali Kishore Patnaik.

The petition asked for action against Mr Rao for allegedly saying at a public event that "Islamists, Christians and Marxists are the main threat to human rights".

He also reportedly said those who framed the Indian Constitution were "pro-minority".

This was on 10 December 1998 at Berhampore in Odisha's Ganjam district. Mr Rao was the Vice Chairman of the Behrampore Development Authority and was invited to speak on International Human Rights Day by an NGO called The Humane.

According to the petition, a copy of which is with NDTV, many in the audience objected to Mr Rao's speech on the spot but he carried on regardless.

"I was there at the meeting," recalls Ali Kishore Patnaik, then a junior CPM leader. "It was shocking, especially coming from an IPS officer. The speech was reported by a local newspaper, Mr Rao rebutted the report, the newspaper and others who were at the meeting rebutted Mr Rao's claims and the controversy reached the Odisha Assembly," he added.

While the opposition debated the issue, Mr Patnaik filed a petition. Soon after that, two investigations were ordered, one by the police and the other by a top revenue officer.

"We didn't pursue the PIL since the officer was posted out to Cuttack soon after, " said Mr Patnaik. But he plans to follow up as soon as the courts reopen. Lawyers in Cuttack are currently on a month long strike.

Meanwhile, phone calls to Mr Nageswar Rao for his comments went unanswered till late this evening.



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