Cassian Baliarsingh

The office of the Lokayukta, Odisha has indicted at least 12 Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials of massive corruption amounting to Rs 11 crore and recommended a Crime Branch probe.

In its order, Lokayukta has directed the Crime Branch to submit a report on or before March 28. The state body hit out at the BMC officials for their involvement in corruption to the tune of Rs 11 crore over garbage management in Bhubaneswar.

The BMC officials have siphoned off the amount to the tune of Rs 11,30,44,362 allotted for garbage management. At least 12 BMC officials are involved in the irregularities and fraud, read the complaint letter written to the Lokayukta.

The irregularities have been carried out between 2011 and 2016, the reports said. 

“The irregularities are made in regards to the amount of the wastage dumped at Temporary Transit Station (TTS) near Sainik School. More bill has been submitted by the contractual company that had taken the lease of lifting waste in the TTS. False bill of over 14 lakh cusec meter waste has been noticed in the records that amount to around Rs 11 crore. All the officials were also involved in the fraud,” said an RTI activist.

An RTI activist Srikant Pakal said, “The massive fraud came to the fore after 2016-17 audit. The amount was supposed to be taken back from the 12 BMC officials involved in the fraud. This amount equals to Rs 50-100 crore in 2022-23. However, the huge amount has not been retrieved from the fraudster officials. I’m shocked to know why the government is not taking interest in getting the money back. We suspect the involvement of the government in this connection.”

Similarly, senior journalist Akshay Sahu alleged that the Crime Branch will never unearth the massive ‘irregularities’ as the government is also involved in this fraud.

“Going by the previous records of the Crime Branch, it is unsatisfactory in Odisha. So, I’m sure that they will not do the probe with purity,” Sahu said.

However, the opposition claimed that the probe order by Lokayukta was only eyewash while the government is trying to suppress the matter. 

When contacted, Mayor Sulochana Das said, “If such irregularities come to the fore, I will make sure the probe is done with good intent. There will be no interference from any quarter in this regard.”

Meanwhile, the Crime Branch is also probing the mysterious missing of files containing data of irregularities to the tune of Rs 54 crore.

(Reported by Chandan Paikray, OTV)