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Ramakanta Biswas

Bhubaneswar: The Vigilance department on Tuesday submitted a preliminary report to Odisha Lokayukta in connection with the multi-crore Covid-19 PPE kits and masks procurement irregularities.

A three-member bench will take up the matter for hearing on March 26, informed complainants Sushant Padhi and Sudarsan Das.

Padhi, the chairman of Odisha Bikash Parishad and Das, a Congress leader had moved the Lokayukta alleging large-scale irregularities in PPE kit and mask procurement.

“Today’s hearing concluded with the submission of the report and the next hearing has been posted to March 26. A bench comprising three members will conduct hearing on the report on March 26,” said Das.

Reacting to the submission of the report by the vigilance, Padhi said, “We are hopeful that the people of Odisha will get justice in such a major case.”

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 run into crores of rupees. The vigilance department was 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.

(Edited By Rashmi Ranjan Mohanty)

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