Food Supplies, Consumer Welfare and Cooperation Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain's effigy was burnt at Chandabali Square before the Office of the SDPO, Athagarh, by hundreds of farmers demanding his arrest for his alleged involvement in a farm loan scam.
Two years ago when Birendra Pratap Swain, elder brother of Minister Swain, was the president of Central Cooperative Bank (CCB), crores of rupees were allegedly embezzled from the CCB, Athagarh branch.
All the 26 societies working under the bank were involved in sanctioning of fraud loans in the name of several local farmers and the tainted staff members were successful in withdrawing crores of
rupees fraudulently. Whenever the matter came to fore and the victim farmers found that lakhs of rupees had been withdrawn in their names without their knowledge, they had urged local MLA-cum-Minister Swain to intervene but in vain.Since farmers have been demanding the bank to disclose the names of
the loanees to check their names in the list and the amount sanctioned but the bank has not responded to it yet. The farmers under the
leadership of one Abhaya Barik, who claims himself as a BJD youth leader, blocked State Highway-65 for an hour raising slogans like ‘Naveen Patnaik Zindabad’, ‘VK Pandian Zindabad’, ‘Minister
Ranendra Pratap Swain Murdabaad.’ The Gurudijhatia police said an inquiry is on and seven tainted CCB staffs involved in the scam have been arrested.