Rashmi Rekha Das

The Odisha Lokayukta on Saturday ordered the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of State Crime Branch to launch a preliminary probe into missing of over 400 records from the Engineering department of the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC). 

The Lokayukta’s order came in response to a complaint filed by one Binayak Rath who alleged that the records of work contract of BMC were not produced before the Director, Local Fund Audit to conduct special audit for the year 2011-12 and 2016-17. 

Before knocking on the door of Odisha Lokayukta, Rath had filed a complaint pertaining to non-production of records of work contract of BMC at the time of audit inspection. Rath alleged though he made a complaint in this regard with the BMC commissioner, no action was taken. 

Taking cognizance of the complaint, the Odisha Lokayukta had earlier issued notice to the BMC Commissioner. 

The BMC Commissioner, in his reply on February 27, 2020 informed the Odisha Lokayukta that he had urged the Director Local Fund Audit to conduct special audit of engineering department for the year 2011-2012 and 2016-2017. 

On basis of the BMC Commissioner’s reply, the Odisha Lokayukta disposed of Rath’s complaint on a belief that all the relevant records will be produced to special audit and Director of Local Fund Audit will complete the entire exercise within 30 days.

“But unfortunately, most records were not produced before the Director Local Fund Audit as a result of which he could not carry out his special audit. It is in this background, the complainant has again filed the present complaint,” the Lokayukta said.   

The Director of Local Fund Audit, on the other hand, informed that out of 530 records only 121 records have been produced. 

The City Engineer of the civic body in its status report stated that out of 490 files only 74 files are left to be traced for submission before the Local Fund Audit.   

As BMC failed to trace the missing records, the Odisha Lokayukta ordered Crime Branch to investigate the matter.

“We accordingly in exercise of our powers conferred under Section 20 (1) of the Odisha Lokayukta Act, 2014 deem it proper to direct the Additional Director General of Police, Crime Branch (Economic Offences Wing), Odisha, Cuttack to conduct a preliminary inquiry for ascertaining whether there exists a prima facie case for proceeding further in the matter against any public servant(s) or any other person(s),” the Lokayukta said.

The Crime Branch has been asked to submit the preliminary inquiry report within three months.