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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Keonjhar: A Sarpanch in Keonjhar district was on Friday detained on charges of corruption and embezzling government funds meant for development works of the panchayat. As per reports, Upendra Nayak, the Sarpanch of Pipilia Gram Panchayat under Ghatagaon block allegedly siphoned off Rs 23 lakh in connivance with former panchayat executive officer (PEO).

Sources said the funds were sanctioned to Pipilia panchayat to carry out various developmental works. However, the entire money was allegedly embezzled by Nayak and the then PEO Soubhagya Rout, who was earlier suspended over a vigilance case against him.

After conducting an enquiry, the BDO of Ghatagaon block lodged a complaint at local police station based on which Nayak has been detained.

Udhhav Chandra Majhi, Project Director of DRDA Keonjhar said, “Soubhagya Rout was the Ex-PEO of Pipilia Panchayat. The misappropriation came to light after he failed to handover the pass book and cashbook of the Panchayat to the new PEO. A preliminary enquiry by our team revealed that the money was transferred to his bank account.”

While police have launched an investigation into the incident, the Ex-PEO is reportedly absconding.

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