Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Lokayukta on Friday directed State Vigilance Directorate to probe into the corruption allegations levelled against Gopalpur MLA Pradeep Panigrahi who was recently arrested by the Crime Branch for his alleged links with IFS officer Abhay Pathak and his son Akash.

The directive came after the anti-corruption watchdog accepted the recommendations of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik demanding a probe into Panigrahi’s corruption charges.

By exercising powers conferred under section 20(1) of the Odisha Lokayukta Act 2014, the Directorate of the Vigilance is directed to conduct a preliminary inquiry against Pradeep Panigrahi and submit report within two months, stated a notification issued by the Lokayukta.

Earlier, the Deputy Vigilance SP (Vigilance Cell) Bhubaneswar in its report had mentioned about the serious allegations of corruption made against Panigrahi. The complaint was based on a secret verification by the Vigilance Cell which had also submitted a number of documents.

The complaint prima facie reveals that Panigrahi by resorting to corrupt practice has ammased assets disproportionate to his known source of income.

On December 3, the Crime Branch had arrested Pradeep Panigrahi, who was expelled by Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik from the primary membership of BJD for his involvement in anti-people activities.

The legislator has been charged with facilitating duping of youths in Ganjam district by his would-be- son-in-law Akash Pathak who allegedly collected huge money from youths on false promise of giving them job while identifying him as managing director at the Tata Motors.

Akash and his father Abhay Kant Pathak, a senior IFS officer in the State were arrested by Vigilance earlier for amassing properties worth crores disproportionate to their known sources of income.

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)