Dilip Kumar

Cuttack: In a significant development, the Orissa High Court on Wednesday quashed a Lokayukta order for Vigilance inquiry into the corruption allegations levelled against Gopalpur MLA Pradeep Panigrahi who had been arrested last year by the Crime Branch in connection with a cheating case involving Akash Pathak, son of tainted IFS officer Abhay Pathak.

Hearing a petition filed by Panigrahi who had challenged the Lokayukta order directing the State Vigilance Department to conduct a probe against him, the court said that such direction is not tenable as the vigilance was the petitioner before the Lokayukta, said senior advocate Pitambar Acharya, who appeared for Panigrahi in the High Court.

It is worth mentioning that the Odisha Lokayukta had directed State Vigilance Directorate in November last year to probe into the corruption allegations against the Gopalpur MLA following his arrest in the case relating to impersonation, cheating, forgery, criminal conspiracy and other cyber offences. Akash Pathak, who was supposed to wed Panigrahi’s daughter, is the prime accused in the case made out by the Cyber Police Station before it was taken over by the Crime Branch.

It is alleged that Panigrahi had collected money from the youths on behalf of Akash Kumar Pathak in a fraudulent manner by falsely promising jobs in a reputed company.

The Crime Branch registered the case against Panigrahi under various sections of IPC and IT Act.

The complaint prima-facie reveals that Panigrahi had resorted to corrupt practices to accumulate wealth.

Notably, Panigrahi had been expelled from BJD for alleged 'anti-people activities ' on November 29.