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Vikash Sharma

A day after three Class-1 officers were arrested with unaccounted cash worth over Rs 22 lakh, the Vigilance Directorate officials suspect that the officers were carrying black money when they were intercepted.

On allegations that the officers had collected the money as donations from various contractors for Durga Puja, Vigilance SP Akshaya Kumar Mishra on Sunday said, “Preliminary investigation reveals that the three offices were travelling with black money (ill-gotten money). We are trying to ascertain the source of money.”

The three arrested Class-1 officers have been identified as Bidhan Chandra Sahu, Superintending Engineer (Baitarini Irrigation Divison, Keonjhar), Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) Regional Officers- PK Mohapatra and Narottam Behera of Rourkela and Balasore regions, respectively.

While Sahu was intercepted near Jajpur with Rs 10 lakh, Vigilance sleuths had recovered Rs 1.75 lakh from Mohapatra and Rs 89,000 cash was seized from Behera’s possession yesterday.

Later, the Vigilance officers recovered Rs 64,000 from the house of Sahu and Rs 9.25 lakh from the house of Behera.

“Unaccounted cash over Rs 22 lakh has been seized so far. Further searches are being conducted at the residence and other places associated with the three officers at different parts of the State. We have recovered gold ornaments, LIC deposits and other banks deposits and further investigation is on,” Mishra added.

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