Pradeep Pattanayak

The Odisha Lokayukta has found 21 people guilty of fraud to the tune of Rs 16 lakh while hearing a petition pertaining to corruption in toilet construction under Swachh Bharat Mission in Gop block of Puri district. 

The Lokayukta on Tuesday directed the State Vigilance department to take appropriate action against the 21 accused. The accused include two engineers of Gop block, three NGOs and a few beneficiaries. 

Notably, a local resident, Gangadhara Paikray had lodged a complained with the Lokayukta, alleging corruption in toilet constructed under Swachh Bharat Mission. In official documents, 750 toilets were shown as constructed in Andara Ichhapur panchayat under Gop block. However, the ground reality was different. 
After conducting an investigation, the vigilance department had submitted its report to the Lokayukta, informing a whooping over Rs 16 lakh had been misappropriated by producing fake bills for 119 toilets. 

Hearing the case, the Lokayukta not only held 21 persons guilty in the case but also directed the vigilance department to take action against them. 
“I lodged a complaint with the Lokayukta regarding corruption in toilet construction in 2020. The judgement has come today. The Lokayukta has held 21 persons guilty and directed the Vigilance department to take action against them,” said Paikray. 
When contacted, block development officer (BDO) Gop, Diptirani Dash said, “I am yet to receive the copy of the verdict. I also demand stringent action against the guilty ones.”

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