Vig raid on gas agency of Dharmendra’s brother creates political spat

Bhubaneswar: Political bickering today gained momentum after the vigilance conducted a raid at a gas agency owned by the brother of Union Minister and Senior BJP leader Dharmendra Pradhan at Handidhua in Talcher.

BJP general Secretary Prithviraj Harichandan demanded the vigilance should not take a wrong step while coming under any pressure.

Harichandan alleged, “As there have been instances of several baseless cases like Prakash Mishra matter in the past, the raid at the gas agency is not a new thing for the BJD government.”

He further stated, “If the vigilance has any prima facie evidence, it should follow the appropriate legal process.”

Refuting the charges of any political motive behind the vigilance raid, Agriculture Minister Pradeep Maharathy said, “Everyone knows what and why the vigilance is taking such steps. Wherever there will be any irregularities, raids will be undertaken.”

Alleging BJP and BJD are utilising power in a wrong way, Senior Congress leader Sarat Rout said, “They can’t stand each other. The ruling party in the State is using vigilance as per its convenience whereas BJP is utilising the CBI to settle political scores.”

Earlier in the day, a team led by Vigilance SP SK Parida searched the gas agency owned by Soumendra Pradhan, the brother of the Union Minister, at around 10 am and examined the documents.

Meanwhile, the sleuths conducted raids at several fuel pumps across the State.

Vigilance DSP HN Pati said, “We were checking the oil measurement at the petrol pumps and matching with the display placed by them. Besides, stock, quality, density of the petrol and diesel were checked.”

Also read: DA case: Vigilance conducts raids across State

“Samples of petrol, diesel and lubricants collected from the fuel pumps will be sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) for quality test and action will be taken on basis of the report from the laboratory,” the Vigilance DSP added.

Eyebrows were raised when vigilance raid was undertaken at the Union Minister’s gas agency in Talcher whereas other searches across the State were restricted to fuel pumps only.

Some are of opinion that today’s vigilance raid is BJD’s answer to the CBI raid on party MPs and MLAs in connection with the chit-fund scam ahead of panchayat polls.

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