Health deptt’s Rs 4.38cr for Nabakalebar on vigilance radar

Puri: The vigilance department of Odisha police has swung into action after allegations that the Health department has misappropriated a huge amount of money out of the Rs 4.38 crore sanctioned to the department for Nabakalebar rituals of lord Jagannath and his siblings last year.

Official sources said Grant-in-Aid (GIA) to the tune of Rs 4.38 crore was released to the Health department for expenses on different heads. However, it is shown in the expenditure report that a sum of Rs 1.66 crore was spent to purchase machineries and equipments for the department.

“We have started investigation into all the expenses of the department relating to Nabakalebar after receiving complaints that a huge amount of money has been embezzled. Since it is alleged that forged documents have also been made against purchase of close circuit cameras, computer and other electronic items for the grand event, we are verifying all these,” said Prashant Kumar Dwivedi, DSP (vigilance), Puri.

Dwivedi stated that the department will also look into officers’ stay in hotels in the town during the festival on government expenses.

“Since we have got specific complaints regarding this we will go into details,” Dwivedi said.

More so, the investigating officials have come to know that during the Nabakalebar ritual, a whopping Rs 17 lakh was transferred to the personal account of then nodal officer KK Sarkar.

“We will certainly verify all the documents,” the official stated.

Meanwhile, chief district medical officer of the district has said he will cooperate with the officials in the investigation.

“The amount (Rs 17 lakh) which was transferred to KK Sarkar’s account was meant for a training programme. Later the programme was cancelled. The officials are verifying all the documents and we are cooperating with them,” said Jagat Krushna Samantaray, CDMO, Puri.