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Vikash Sharma

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 for hearing in connection with the alleged corruption in the purchase of PPE kits and masks by the Odisha government, on Monday.

Meanwhile, the Lokayukta expressed its displeasure at the Odisha Chief Secretary for not submitting a detailed report over the matter and instead, presenting some facts through a letter.

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.

The next hearing on the matter has been scheduled for December 7, official sources said.

Nevertheless, it is for the third time that both the senior officials appeared before the Lokayukta in connection with alleged irregularities in the procurement of PPE kits in Odisha.

The two 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 before the Lokayukta on November 4.

It is pertinent to mention here that Odisha 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.

Apart from Congress, Odisha Bikash Parisada (OBP), a social organisation had also alleged that many IAS officers were involved in the scam and demanded a fair probe into the matter.

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