Odisha Lokayukta orders probe into corruption charges against MLA

Updated December 11, 2020

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Bhubaneswar, Dec 11 (IANS) The Lokayukta of Odisha on Friday directed the state vigilance department to investigate the corruption charges made against expelled Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader and Gopalpur MLA Pradeep Panigrahi.

The Lokayukta asked the vigilance department to submit its report within two months after the preliminary investigation.

Notably, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had recommended the Lokayukta for a probe into the corruption charges against Panigrahi.

"The complaint prima facie reveals that Pradeep Kumar Panigrahi by resorting to corrupt practices has amassed assets disproportionate to his known source of income," the Lokayukta's order said.

"We, therefore, by exercising the powers conferred under Section 20 (1) of the Odisha Lokayukta Act, 2014, direct the Directorate of Vigilance, Odisha, to conduct a preliminary inquiry against Pradeep Panigrahi and submit the report within two months," it said.

Panigrahi was arrested by the Crime Branch for his alleged involvement in a job fraud case on December 3.

Panigrahi, a former minister and three-time MLA, was expelled from BJD on November 28 for anti-people activities. He allegedly collected money on behalf of Akash Pathak by falsely promising jobs in Tata Motors to people. Pathak, son of suspended IFS officer Abhay Pathak, falsely posed as managing director of TATA Motors. Both the father and son have been arrested by the vigilance department for amassing disproportionate assets.

Meanwhile, Panigrahi has moved the Orissa High Court seeking bail.

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