• otv
Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Bhubaneswar: The Lokayukta on Friday gave clean chit to the Odisha government over the alleged scam in the procurement of masks and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits that rocked the State last year.

A three-member bench of the Lokayukta didn’t find any irregularities in the procurement of mask and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits on the basis of the preliminary investigation carried out by State Vigilance and disposed of the case.

“We appealed before the bench to give us a chance to look into the report of the Vigilance and plead our side in the case. But we were deprived of the opportunity which is quite unfortunate,” said petitioner Sudarsan Das.

“However, we will move to High Court to challenge the verdict,” said Das.

Another petitioner Sushant Padhy also expressed his dissatisfaction over the verdict by terming it ‘undemocratic.’

“The verdict of the Lokayukta has disappointed the people of the State. It was like much ado about nothing,” said Padhi.

In December last year, the Lokayukta had directed the State Vigilance wing to investigate the alleged scam in the purchase of PPE kits and masks by the Odisha Government that ran into crores of rupees. The vigilance department had been asked to complete the preliminary investigation and submit a report in this regard within two months.

On June 5 last year, the State government had removed IAS officer Hemant Sharma from the supervision of the procurement of masks and PPE kits following allegations of corruption.

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