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More trouble for Pradeep Panigrahy as State Vigilance probes illegal wealth  

In February this year, the Orissa High Court had quashed the Lokayukta’s order for a probe by Directorate of Vigilance against Panigrahy in an alleged case of disproportionate assets. 

Published: 18th October 2021 07:54 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th October 2021 07:54 AM   |  A+A-

Gopalpur MLA Dr Pradeep Panigrahy

Gopalpur MLA Dr Pradeep Panigrahy

By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: Gopalpur MLA and expelled BJD leader Pradeep Panigrahy is in trouble again over allegations of corruption. The State Vigilance on Sunday searched the legislator’s residence and those of his relatives and associates in connection with a case registered against him for allegedly amassing disproportionate assets to the tune of Rs 5.5 crore.

A senior Vigilance officer said a case was registered against Panigrahy on October 4 this year basing on the direction of the Lokayukta. “Searches are being conducted at 15 places in Bhubaneswar and Ganjam district,” he said. So far, officers have seized documents relating to purchase of land, jewellery, bank passbooks, credit/debit cards, laptops, mobile phones and other articles. 

The searches are being carried out by a team led by SP of Vigilance Cell and comprising two Additional SPs and 17 DSPs. Vigilance sleuths have also detected Rs 20 lakh in possession of Panigrahy’s associates and their sources are being verified. On allegation of accumulating assets illegally, the Directorate of Vigilance had conducted a secret verification of Panigrahy’s property last year and lodged a complaint against him with the Lokayukta on December 9, 2020. The anti-corruption watchdog noted that the legislator had amassed disproportionate assets and directed the Vigilance wing to launch an inquiry into the matter under section 20 (2) of Odisha Lokayukta Act, 2014. 

The Vigilance investigation revealed that Gopalpur MLA had made huge illegal gains as a public servant between May 24, 2009 and November 30, 2020. The anti-corruption agency then submitted an inquiry report to the Lokayukta on May 28 this year. 

The Lokayukta examined the report and the reply filed by Panigrahy and noted that there was prima facie case against him under sections 13 (2), 13 (1) (b) of Prevention of Corruption Act and directed the Vigilance to carry out an investigation into the matter.The Lokayukta also authorised the Vigilance to carry out searches under section 26 (1) of the Odisha Lokayukta Act as part of its investigation following which a case was registered by the anti-corruption agency. 

In February this year, the Orissa High Court had quashed the Lokayukta’s order for a probe by Directorate of Vigilance against Panigrahy in an alleged case of disproportionate assets.The court dismissed the Lokayukta order saying it was not legally tenable as the complainant and investigating agency in a quasi-judicial process cannot be the same.



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