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Ramakanta Biswas

Even as Odisha government has made submission of their property details by all government servants and public representatives mandatory, reluctance of some IAS officers in filing details of the moveable property has raised questions on transparency in the implementation of the initiative.

In 2020, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had in a tweet announced zero-tolerance policy towards corruption and said property details of public servants and elected representatives will be made public.   

“All elected representatives, from Sarpanch to CM, will furnish their property details. Public servants, from entry-level employee to Chief Secretary, will provide property details. The details will be hosted in the public domain, and a copy will be sent to Lokayukta. Details to be updated every year,” the CM had tweeted. 

Even though there was a delay, most of the public servants in Odisha including those promoted to IAS from OAS have submitted the details of their moveable and immovable properties in the HRMS portal. However, the IAS cadre officers reportedly furnished the details of their immovable property return (IPR) on the DOPT website, but expressed reluctance in disclosing their moveable properties.

Sahadev Sahu, former chief secretary said, “All the officials are indulged in CP (percentage commission) activities. Either they purchased a plot with that money or hid it somewhere. I think the officials are not disclosing the property details fearing of being exposed.”

“If officials who are at the helm of administrative mechanism will violate the rules and lakhs of other employees display a disciplined attitude, it will create an unacceptable situation in social perspective,” opined former union secretary Prasanna Mishra.

As per the moveable property details furnished by Chief Secretary Suresh Mohapatra and his wife in 2022, the couple owns three flats and two plots. Similarly, 1989 batch IAS officer Pradeep Jena and his wife disclosed that they have three flats and six plots. 

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s personal secretary VK Pandian and his wife Sujata Karthikeyan declared that they did not buy any flat or plot in their 20 years of service.

However, these IAS officers have not disclosed details of their moveable properties like bank deposits, shares, gold ornaments and cash. 

RTI activist Pradeep Pradhan said, “The officers are providing details of immovable assets on DoPT. If the officers had furnished the movable assets details, it can be probed under the Odisha Lokayukta act. It is a well-planned conspiracy to protest All India IAS cadres.”

As per the All India Services (Conduct) Rules, 1968, all officials of all India cadres must send property details by January 31 every year to the DoPT. However, non-compliance with the rules by some IAS and IPS officers in Odisha has raised several questions.

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