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Dilip Kumar

Bhubaneswar: The Orissa High Court on Wednesday granted conditional bail to the expelled BJD leader and Gopalpur MLA Pradeep Panigrahi in connection with a fraud case filed by the State Crime Branch.

The MLA was allowed to move out of the jail on two bail bonds of Rs 5 lakh each along with a cash deposit of Rs 24 lakh.

The legislator was arrested by the Crime Branch in December last year in a fraud case relating to illegal collection of money from unemployed youths in Ganjam district.

He was accused of collecting money in the name of providing jobs in a private company on behalf of Akash Kumar Pathak, son of suspended Forest officer Abhay Kant Pathak.

The Gopalpur lawmaker was booked under section 419 (cheating by personation), 420 (Cheating), 467 (forgery of valuable security, will) and 120-B (conspiracy) among others along with Section 66- c/ 66-d of IT Act, 2000, the statement said.

Panigrahi, a three-time MLA and a former minister, was once very close to Patnaik and even worked as his representative in the Hinjili assembly constituency in the Ganjam district held by the BJD president since 2000.

Prior to his arrest, he was expelled from the BJD for alleged 'anti-people' activities.

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