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Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: Hours after he was picked up by a special team, Gopalpur MLA Pradeep Panigrahi was arrested on Thursday evening by the Crime Branch.

The Crime Branch officials in a statement claimed that Panigrahi was collecting money from various people on behalf of Akash Pathak, son of suspended IFS officer Abhay Kant Pathak.

Both Abhay Kant and his son Akash were arrested by the Vigilance on November 27. While Abhaya Kant Pathak was arrested in connection with a disproportionate assets case, his son was booked for cheating people by promising them jobs at Tata Motors.

Akash Pathak had allegedly impersonated himself as a top official of the Tata Motors.
As per official sources, Panigrahi has been arrested under Sections -419 (cheating by personation), 420 (Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 467 (Forgery of valuable security), 468 (Forgery for purpose of cheating), 469 (Forgery for purpose of harming reputation), 471 (Using as genuine a forged document), 120 B (a party to a criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.

Panigrahi has aslo been booked under Sections 66 (c), 66 (D) of the IT Act, 2000.

“There is sufficient evidence against Pradeep Panigrahi in the case. Evidence has come to light that Panigrahi collected money on behalf of Akash Pathak, falsely promising them jobs in Tata company,” said Crime Branch in a statement.

Panigrahi, who was recently expelled from the BJD on the charges of anti-people activity, was picked a Crime Branch team for interrogation in a case registered by the cyber police station.

Panigrahi’s wife Sujata had alleged that some people who came in four vehicles arrived at the MLA’s official residence. “Identifying themselves as sleuths from the Crime Branch EOW, they took away my husband from our residence in Bhubaneswar,” said Sujata.

Sujata also alleged that her husband was intentionally being tortured and harassed.

Expressing that there was a threat to her husband’s life as she was unable to locate him at the EOW office, she had said earlier in the evening, “If anything happens to my husband, the Chief Minister will be responsible."

“What is the reason behind the officials taking away my husband, who is a sitting MLA, to an undisclosed place for questioning. He (Pradeep Panigrahi) is being targeted and harassed intentionally,” Sujata added.

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