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Sharmili Mallick

Bhubaneswar: Two senior IAS officers - Industries Secretary Hemant Sharma and Managing Director of the Odisha State Medical Corporation Limited Yamini Sarangi - appeared before the Lokayukta once again on Monday for hearing in connection with the alleged scam in the purchase of PPE kits and masks by the Odisha Government, running into several hundreds crores of rupees. Today is likely the final hearing of the case.

It may be noted that this is the fourth time that both Sharma, who was the former head of the State level purchase committee and Sarangi appeared before the anti-corruption ombudsman in connection with the alleged irregularities in the procurement of PPE kits in the State.

Earlier on June 5, the State government had removed Sharma from the supervision of the procurement of masks and PPE kits required in the treatment of Covid-19 patients following allegations of corruption made by Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee and Odisha Vikash Parishad (OVP), a social organisation.

Later on November 5, the Odisha Lokayukta had served a notice to Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy to furnish a reply over the allegations by November 23.

On the other hand, the two IAS officers had initially failed to respond to the notice by Lokayukta on August 11 to submit their replies. Later, the anti-corruption ombudsman had warned that it will proceed with the investigation if they did not appear during the next hearing on September 14.

Subsequently, both had appeared before the Lokayukta on September 14. Again they appeared for the second time on November 4 and then on November 23.

(Edited By Rashmi Ranjan Mohanty)

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