Ramakanta Biswas

A little more than seven months after an inspector of the Excise department had created a stir by accusing Puri police of collecting kickbacks from the liquor and ganja mafia, the vigilance sleuth trapped the ‘whistleblower’ in a graft case.    

Sanjaya Kumar Panda, an inspector excise in Puri Mobile Excise Squad, has landed in the vigilance net for allegedly demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 18,000. 

As per the Odisha Vigilance, Panda has been apprehended red-handed while accepting the bribe from a complainant in order to submit a case diary in a PR case. 

“The entire bribe money has been recovered from Panda and seized,” the vigilance said. 

Following his arrest, the sleuths of the anti-corruption wing carried out simultaneous searches at two locations linked to Panda from DA (disproportionate asset) angle. 

A case has been registered in this connection at Bhubaneswar Vigilance police station and further investigation is underway.

In June last year, Panda had shot off a letter to Excise Commissioner Ashish Singh alleging that the staff of Puri district police took money from various excise offenders.

Soon after the accusations and following apparent backlash from the department, Panda did a U-turn and claimed that he was a mental patient. 

He also released a video and stated, “Due to Covid, I had lost my mental balance and was undergoing treatment. For the past one month, I had discontinued my medications. As a result, I started facing such mental issues again and made such statements against the police department.”

Panda further clarified that his remarks about the police-mafia nexus were unintentional and sought an apology for the ‘slip of tongue’.

Reported by Madhusudan Mishra, OTV