Dr Abhay Kant Pathak, 1987 batch IFS officer under the Odisha government, is under probe after a massive vigilance raid, considered to be one of the biggest and most extensive raids so far, has unearthed disproportionate assets and unimaginable wealth accumulated by Pathak over the years.
As per reports, Vigilance Cell Division, Cuttack, with 150 officers and staff of various divisions of Vigilance Directorate of Odisha have simultaneously raided five places in Bhubaneshwar, seven places in Mumbai and Pune, and some regions of Bihar and Rajasthan in the last few days.
According to reports, a senior officer said that Pathak had accumulated assets by illegal means. “Searches are being conducted on the strength of search warrants issued by Court of Special Judge Vigilance in Bhubaneswar,” he added. During the search operation, the department mobilized witnesses. Further verification and investigation are going on.
Since June 2018, Pathak is serving as Additional PCCF Plan Programme and Afforestation at the office of PCCF, Odisha. The investigation agencies have not revealed the exact amount of disproportionate assets as the investigation is still underway.
Trips in chartered planes, luxury hotel bookings
According to a report published in Times of India, a vigilance officer said they seized a considerable amount of cash and other incriminating documents. “Details of his assets and their value would be known after everything is collate,” he added. The reports suggested that a central agency had alerted the Odisha government that Pathak and his family had air travelled at least 20 times to Mumbai, Delhi, Patna, and Pune during the lockdown and post-lockdown period.
A detailed report by Odia daily Sambad stated that the Pathak family had hired chartered planes for the 20 trips taken during the lockdown period and have spent upwards Rs 4.5 crores on the flights alone. The chartered planes reportedly belong to a private company named Kalinga Aero and Allied Services Pvt Ltd. The report also states that in the simultaneous raids, bills for hotel bookings, lavish banquet halls and other luxuries worth over Rs 2 crores have been recovered so far from the IFS officer’s residential properties in Bhubaneswar.
Odia media has reported that the amount of wealth, documents pertaining to financial transactions, bills and valuable items is so vast that the vigilance department has had to hire CAs to keep detailed accounts.
Italian marble floors, ivory bed, lavish houses
Pathak’s lavish apartment at Bhubaneswar’s Khandagiri reportedly had Italian marble flooring, a bed made of ivory worth over 60 lakh rupees, and other luxuries. Forest and wildlife products like horns have also been recovered.
TOI quoted a senior officer saying that during the inquiry, they found that four private bodyguards were hired for Pathak and his son at a salary of Rs.50,000 per month per bodyguard. His son is known for living a lavish lifestyle. They have rented a farmhouse in Pune on rent at Rs.5 lakh per month. In Pune’s Koregaon area, Pathak’s son Akash has also been staying in a swanky flat rented at Rs 5 lakh a month. The investigation agency has recovered Rs. 50 lakh from Pathak’s nephew’s house. A huge cache of cash was recovered from his driver’s home as well. Pathak and his family own five high-end cars.
IFS officer’s son was to marry MLA’s daughter on December 11, accused of forgery by TATA Motors
A report by Sambad has also stated that Pathak’s son is set to marry a state MLA’s daughter on December 11. The family had organised a lavish pre-wedding ceremony at a five-star hotel in Bhubaneswar recently which had lasted for several days. Pathak family had booked a ‘palace’ hotel in Udaipur for the wedding ceremony and were to fly there. The hotel has been raided by vigilance too. As per reports, vigilance is trying to ascertain which individuals were funding such lavish lifestyle of a government officer.
It is notable here that Pathak’s son Akash was earlier accused of fraud and forgery by TATA Motors. Akash has a case registered against him at the crime branch’s cybercrime cell. He was allegedly cheating people of money, promising to get them jobs at TATA Motors by falsely claiming to be an MD at TATA Motors. Akash had allegedly used forged documents, logo, and email id of TATA Motors to loot vulnerable people looking for jobs during the lockdown. Despite a crime branch FIR in May, no action has been initiated so far against Akash. This has raised suspicion of political collusion and efforts to shield the corrupt officials by powerful people.