The Odisha Lokayukta on Friday gave a clean chit to senior IAS officer Bishnupada Sethi in connection with a case filed against him over alleged reimbursement of medical bills from Odisha State Cooperative Bank (OSCB).
Lokayukta Chairperson Justice Ajit Singh closed the case against Sethi, who is currently serving as Principal Secretary of Revenue and Disaster Management Department, filed by social activist Srikanta Pakal.
In its order, the Lokayukta observed that “Since Sethi has already returned the amount of medical reimbursement we find no good ground to further dwell on the allegation of wrongful reimbursement of medical bills by him.”
In his complaint, Pakal had alleged that Sethi by misusing his power and position had withdrawn lakhs of rupees from the Odisha State Co-operative Bank Ltd (OSCB), Bhubaneswar during his tenure as its management-in-charge from 2013 to 2015.
On the basis of the complaint, the Lokayukta had ordered a probe and asked its director of inquiry to find out the truth. The Director of Inquiry submitted his preliminary inquiry report on April 9, 2021 in favour of Sethi.
According to the preliminary inquiry report, since Sethi as a Government servant was engaged whole time in connection with the affairs of OSCB, he was entitled to receive payment of bonus under Rule 54 (a) of the Staff Service Rules, 1980.
The Director of Inquiry has also given a finding that Sethi had lawfully reimbursed the medical bills amounting to Rs 3.27 lakh on different occasions from the fund of the bank after receiving permission from the State Government.
“The allegation that Sethi by misusing his office illegally received bonus from the OSCB is wholly without any foundation and we accordingly reject the same,” the Lokayukta said in its order.
“Despite this finding of the Director of Inquiry in his favour, Sethi as a good will gesture has returned the entire amount of Rs 3.27 lakh to the OSCB on June 25, 2021 by making payment through three cheques of the same date. We appreciate such a conduct of Sethi and the State Government may consider to reimburse the medical bills in question as per rules,” the order said.
“Since Sethi has already returned the amount of medical reimbursement we find no good ground to further dwell on the allegation of wrongful reimbursement of medical bills by him,” the Lokayukta added.