BHUBANESWAR: Vigilance officers recovered international flight tickets worth Rs 2.5 lakh from the residence of Hadibandhu Panigrahi, Regional Manager of Odisha State Pollution Control Board, Kalinga Nagar in Jajpur district. The tickets were of a Dubai trip that Panigrahi and his family had undertaken earlier this year. Panigrahi had also exchanged Rs 2.5 lakh to Dirham for the trip, the anti-corruption officials found during a raid on h i s h o u s e i n Bhubaneswar.
Acting on information that Panigrahi was carrying huge amount of money acquired through illegal means to his house in Khandagiri, here in a private vehicle, the Vigilance officers intercepted his car near Khandagiri Bari area on October 11 evening and recovered Rs 96,500 besides a 10 gram gold coin. On inquiry, Panigrahi failed to account for the cash and gold coin leading to suspicion of him possessing more illegal assets. Next day, the Vigilance officers conducted searches at his Khandagiri residence and traced expensive household articles including document relating to acquisition of immovable and movable assets. Those include a plot in Angul, double-storey building in Khandagiri, gold ornaments weighing about 442 grams, silver ornaments weighing 1.16 kg, three cars, a two-wheeler, papers of a crusher unit at Hulurisingha in Angul which is in operation since 2010, investments in LIC, bank deposits and investment in shares and bonds.
Vigilance DSP, Khurda division Suresh Dash said, "We received allegations that Panigrahi was harassing officials of various establishments in Kalinga Nagar where he was transferred about four months back on the pretext of providing them pollution clearances. He had also demanded gratification of Rs 2.5 lakh from another person during the festive season." A case has been registered against Panigrahi for possessing disproportionate assets amounting to approximately Rs 1.36 crore which he could not account for, Dash said. He was arrested and produced before a court on Friday, a Vigilance officer said.