Mrunal Manmay Dash

A woman purportedly with M.Phil and PhD degrees recently levelled serious allegations of bribe against some top officials of Odisha government. And to press her point, she resorted to selling potatoes on the streets of Bhubaneswar. However, the concerned departments later denied her allegations.

She alleged that some top officials of the Odisha government had demanded a bribe of Rs 50 lakh from her for a job.

The woman in question is Dr Archana Kanungo. She claimed to be not only highly educated but also someone who has worked as Principal and visiting professor in many educational institutes. She also claimed to have won several awards in Tae-Kwon-Do for Odisha in competitions. However, despite so many qualifications, she is yet to get any job under the state government, she alleged.

Speaking to OTV, Archana said, “I am a sportsperson. I have played Tae-Kwon-Do at the National level. I am a black belt and have also worked as a coach in Tae-Kwon-Do. I was a referee too. I have a valid identity card provided by the Odisha Olympic Association.”

“Not only sports, but I excelled in academics too. I passed my Graduation in first class in Sociology honours with distinction. I secured third rank in graduation under Utkal University. I have a first-class in M.Phil from Delhi University. I have done management from IIM Calcutta. I have done a regular PhD and received both Junior Research Fellowship and Senior Research Fellowship too,” she said.

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But when she went to meet the then Principal Secretary, he allegedly threw away her certificates. His Additional Secretary, who was also present there, allegedly asked her to give Rs 50 lakh and ‘other things’ as bribe. 

"I denied giving them the money. He (the official) said there are many toppers, but not every topper gets a job. It requires money and ‘other things’ to get a job," she was allegedly told.

Clarification from the Odisha Govt Departments

Later the State Higher Education Department clarified that all the provisions of selection under the Orissa Civil Services Rules 1994 was followed in her (Dr Archana Kanungo's) selection process.

"The petitioner (Complainant, Archana Kanungo) could not secure the cut-off mark in the interview and as a result, the petitioner could not be selected in the recruitment process made by the OPSC. In view of this, the claim of the petitioner in the present writ petition merits no consideration, and is therefore rejected," the department said.

In another clarification, the Sports and Youth Services department stated, "OPSC has recommended 12 candidates for the posts of Assistant Professor of Sociology, where the name of the petitioner does not find place in the merit list due to scoring of less marks under the unreserved category."

OTV tried to contact the then principal secretary of the Higher Education department, but he didn't respond to the query or the allegations made against him.

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