Odishatv Bureau

Bhuabneswar: Days after Vigilance sleuths raided the gas agency of Dharmendra Pradhan’s brother Soumendra Pradhan at Handidhua in Talcher and registered a case against Soumendra in connection with irregularities and adulteration, the Union Petroleum minister on Tuesday said nobody is above law. The law will take its course if any irregularity is found.

Asked to comment on the raid conducted on his brother’s gas agency following allegations of adulteration and black-marketing, the Union minister said, "Nobody is above law, whosoever he may be.”

"States have a right under the Essential Commodities Act to carry out searches and take action. They have done it. It should be taken to logical conclusion," he said.

"Nobody is above law, whether it is my bother or any of my relative. If they find something irregular, law will take its own course," Pradhan stated.

On Saturday, Odisha's anti-corruption vigilance department conducted raids at several petrol pumps and cooking gas agencies across the state, including the one belonging to Pradhan's the brother following allegation of adulteration and black-marketing.

Based on the allegation of black-marketing of cooking gas by agencies, adulteration of diesel, petrol and lubricants and its sale in lesser quantity, searches were conducted in places such as Koraput, Nawarangpur, Puri, Bhubaneswar, Berhampur, Balsore, Sambalpur, Bargarh, Angul and Cuttack, a vigilance department statement said.

BJP State General Secretary Prithviraj Harichandan alleged that the move is an example of misuse of vigilance by the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) government.

Pradhan, however, said he would not attach any political motives to the action as he is in-charge of the ministry concerned.

"I should not say so (political vendetta). I am in-charge of this ministry and sector. Every state has right to enforce the Essential Commodities Act. They (Odisha) have done that.

Law will take its own course if they find something irregular," he said.

Besides, the "concerned (oil) companies would take action (in cases irregularities are found)", he pointed out.

Also read: Dharmendra Pradhan’s brother moves HC after Vigilance registers case

Reacting on Congress and BJD’s decision to protest Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh’s visit to Odisha as topmost star campaigner for BJP during the panchayat elections, Pradhan said, “Raman Singh is a popular chief minister. BJP will be benefited by his campaigning.”