Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: Gopalpur MLA Pradeep Panigrahi directly took money from two applicants who had been conned in the massive recruitment scam allegedly committed by Akash Pathak on pretext of providing employment in Tata Motors, police said.

Informing this, Crime Branch ADG Soumendra Priyadarshi on Saturday said, “So far, six persons who were duped by Akash Pathak have come forward and lodged formal complaints with the crime branch. Out of them, two had directly transferred money to the accounts of arrested Gopalpur MLA Pradeep Panigrahi.”

The other four complaints had deposited huge sums of money in the accounts of Akash Pathak and Pradeep Panigrahi’s associates, the ADG said in a press conference.

“We suspect several others might have been duped by Akash and did not report the matter to police out of fear. We appeal them to come forward. We promise appropriate legal action will be taken against those found guilty in the job fraud,” said Priyadarshi.

According to Priyadarshi, Akash along with Panigrahi, whose daughter the former was supposed to marry, had ganged up in the swindle plan and duped several people by promising them jobs with Tata Motors.

Posing as the Managing Director (I/c) of Tata Motors, Akash had even issued fake appointment letters by creating fake email accounts using the company’s letter pad and logo, Priyadarshi said.

After the company lodged a formal complaint with Cyber Police Station, a probe was initiated by the Crime Branch.

“As Akash was the would be son-in-law of the Gopalpur MLA, two job aspirants had directly transferred money into the bank accounts of Panigrahi. Akash had also conducted online training programme for the unsuspecting recruited/ selected candidates,” said Priyadarshi.

The Vigilance Department has already arrested Akash Pathak’s father Abhay Kant Pathak in connection with a disproportionate assets case.

Akash, who was arrested by the Crime Branch last month, is now on a five day remand of the agency.
“We have also interrogated Akash Pathak’s personal assistant David Peter, who worked for him in Pune and Bhubaneswar,” Priyadarshi added.