Vikash Sharma

Simultaneous raids are underway by the Vigilance Department at 15 locations across Odisha in connection with a disproportionate assets (DA) case registered against Gopalpur MLA Pradeep Panigrahi.

A senior Vigilance official said that searches are being carried out at the residences of relatives and other associates of Panigrahi. 

The searches are being led under the supervision of a Vigilance Cell SP, two additional SsP, 17 DSsP who are assisted by other team members.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Odisha Vigilance Directorate had conducted a secret verification on Panigrahi against whom allegations pertaining to possession of assets disproportionate to his known sources of income had been levelled.

On obtaining substantial evidence, a complaint was filed before the Odisha Lokayukta on December 9, 2020, the Vigilance said in a release. 

The Odisha Lokayukta had subsequently asked the Vigilance to conduct an inquiry against Panigrahi under Section 20 (2) of the Odisha Lokayukta Act, 2014.

“An inquiry was conducted and it was revealed that Pradeep Panigrahi had intentionally enriched himself during his incumbency as a public servant from May 24, 2009 to November 30, 2020  and was found in possession of disproportionate assets to the tune of Rs 5,05,04, 656. The inquiry report was submitted to the Lokayukta Odisha on May 28, 2021,” the release read.

The Gopalpur MLA had been arrested on charges of forgery, criminal conspiracy and other cyber offences on December 3, 2020. Following Panigrahi's arrest, he was expelled by the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD).  He was released from Jharpada jail in Bhubaneswar on June 12, 2021 after he was granted bail by the Orissa High Court in connection with the ‘TATA Motors job fraud’ case registered at the Golanthara police station in Ganjam district.