Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Union Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan’s brother, Soumendra Pradhan, whose gas agency at Handidhua in Talcher was raided by the Vigilance sleuths on Saturday, moved the Orissa High Court (HC) today seeking anticipatory bail after the anti-corruption wing registered a case against him in connection with irregularities and adulteration.

Another raid on Soumendra’s agency in Talcher, Pradhan Gas Agency, was conducted by a 5-member team of Vigilance and Food Supply & Consumer Welfare departments led by Cuttack Vigilance division DSP. Stock register, cash memo and sales register were seized during the raid.

According to sources, cases have been registered against 4 including Soumendra over irregularities in LPG distribution and adulteration under sections 120(B), 420 of IPC and sections 7 & 8 of Indian Explosives Act.

“Cases have been registered against four persons based on complaints, including proprietor of Pradhan Gas Services Talcher, Soumendra Pradhan, proprietor of Pradhan Gas Agency. On the day of the raid on January 14, 40 LPG cylinders were delivered to a specific person,” said Vigilance Director, RP Sharma.

Notably, Vigilance sleuths continued their raids on petrol stations and gas agencies today over reported theft and adulteration. The raids were conducted on 9 gas agencies across 6 districts of Odisha.

Also Read: Vigilance raids continue at petrol stations, gas agencies across Odisha

However, such raids are being questioned on grounds of countering allegations that Dharmendra Pradhan was the target behind the solitary raid on his brother’s agency on Saturday. The Odisha BJP voiced its allegations accusing the State government of being scared.

“The State government has raided around 15-17 rural gas agencies. This has exposed the fear of the State government towards Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY). The State government should stop such activities during the time of election and in violation of model code of conduct,” said General Secretary of Odisha BJP, Prithviraj Harichandan.

“Many allegations will be made but routine work cannot be stopped during Panchayat elections. Defrauding people is a crime and to control it is the duty of the administration. Hence, it is an administrative decision rather than a political one,” countered ruling-BJD spokesperson, Amar Satpathy.