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Sharmili Mallick

The Vigilance sleuths have arrested three Class-I officers of the Odisha government, including two Regional Officers of the State Pollution Control Board and Superintending Engineer (SE) of Irrigation, Baitarini Division at Salapada in Keonjhar district after unaccounted cash reportedly recovered from their possession. A total of Rs 22,61,430 has been seized during the three raids, informed the State Vigilance Department.

Briefing the media persons, Akshaya Kumar Mishra, the Vigilance SP at Cuttack on Sunday informed, “The Cuttack Vigilance has arrested two officials- Narottam Behera, the Regional Officer at SPCB in Balasore and Bidhan Chandra Sahu, the Superintending Engineer of Irrigation, Baitarini Division at Salapada.”

“Sahu was coming in his office van from Salapada in Keonjhar district to Cuttack when a Vigilance team intercepted him near N.C. College Road in front of the Covid Hospital in Jajpur town. During the interception, Rs 10,07,620 was recovered from his possession. A raid was also conducted on his house at Mahatab Road in Cuttack in which a total of Rs 64,000 was unearthed. He has been arrested and forwarded to the court today,” said Mishra.

In another case, Narottam Behera was intercepted near Tangi Check Gate in Cuttack while he was going to Bhubaneswar from Balasore in a car. The Vigilance team conducted a raid and recovered a total of Rs 89,290 unaccounted cash. Subsequent raids were conducted at his residential house at Satyanagar in Bhubaneswar in which a total of Rs 9,25,000 cash was found, added the Vigilance SP.

“Unaccounted cash over Rs 22 lakh has been seized so far while searches are still underway at several property related to Sahu and Behera. The Vigilance has recovered gold ornament, LIC forms and deposits in different banks during the raids. Preliminary investigation suggests that they were carrying black money. Interrogation is underway and the two accused will be brought in remand if needed,” stated Mishra.

On the other hand, Prakash Kumar Mohapatra, the Regional Officer of SPCB at Panposh in Rourkela was arrested by the Vigilance sleuths on Saturday and forwarded to the court. He will remain in judicial custody till October 21, 2021.

Acting on a tipoff, a team of the State Vigilance Department at Bhubaneswar intercepted him at Sundarpada while he was returning from Rourkela on Sunday and recovered Rs 1,75,810 from his possession.

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