On Sunday, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) expelled one of its MLAs, Dr Pradeep Kumar Panigrahi, for his personal links with IFS officer Abhay Kant Pathak, who has been arrested by vigilance on charges of corruption and accumulating disproportionate assets.
Pradeep Panigrahi, a 3-time BJD MLA and former minister from Gopalpur in Ganjam district of Odisha, was removed from the primary membership of the BJD for his ‘anti-people activities’. As per reports, his expulsion came at the backdrop of his connections with the corruption-accused IFS officer and his son Akash. Pradeep Panigrahi’s daughter Shruti was scheduled to marry Akash Pathak, the son of IFS Abhay Kant Pathak in December, prior to the unearthing of the corruption case. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik issued an order removing Pradeep from the party on Sunday.
Panigraphi’s daughter was to marry IFS officer’s son
Soon after over a dozen teams of over 150 vigilance officials raided several properties owned by the IFS officer and his son, their close family ties with the BJD MLA were all over the state media. Panigrahi’s daughter and Pathak’s son were to get married at a high-end luxury palace hotel in Rajasthan’s Udaipur in December. Pathak’s son Akash was reportedly staying in a luxury apartment in Pune that he had rented for over Rs 5 lakhs per month. He also had rented another farmhouse for over 5 lakhs a month. The Pathak’s ultra-luxurious lifestyle, dozens of chartered plane flights and other expenses that have been unearthed in the recent raids have grabbed public attention in the state.
It is notable here that Akash has been named in an FIR filed by Tata Motors in crime branch for defrauding job seekers while posing as an MD in the company. As per reports in Odia media, most of the fraud victims are from the Gopalpur constituency, where Pradeep Panigrahi is the MLA. Akash had allegedly cheated crores of rupees from dozens of victims by using fake email id, and forged documents bearing the name of TATA companies. A state crime branch team has reached Gopalpur to investigate the fraud case.
Largest ever vigilance raid in Odisha on IFS officer
IFS officer Abhay Kant Pathak has been arrested for alleged corruption after the multiple vigilance raids. His son Akash was also arrested for impersonating as a top executive officer of Tata Motors and facilitating fake recruitments. As per the findings of the crime branch and State Vigilance Department, the accused had issued a letter of intent to several job seekers in Gopalpur. It is now being probed whether any financial transactions were involved in these recruitments. While conducting raids in connection to the case, the State Vigilance Department had found a whopping ₹9.4 crore in bank accounts of Akash. Reportedly, about ₹8.4 crores were deposited in cash at Bhubaneshwar while ₹70 lacs was deposited at Ganjam.