Expelled BJD leader and MLA from Gopalpur, Pradeep Panigrahi was picked up by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Crime Branch from his residence. Panigrahi’s wife Sujata, while revealing the details on Thursday evening said that people came in four SUVs and took him away. “Identifying themselves as sleuths from the Crime Branch EOW, they took away my husband from our residence in Bhubaneswar”, she said.
According to a report by OTV, Sujata Panigrahi said, “Without any notice or warrant, they picked up my husband. Is my husband is a Naxalite or a terrorist that he’s been ill-treated by the officials”. She added, “if the government had shown the same alacrity in case of Naxals the problem would not have existed by now”.
Saying that her husband was being targeted and harassed intentionally, she questioned what the need was for purported sleuths to take a sitting MLA away in this manner to an undisclosed location. She added that she was unable to locate him. “If anything happens to my husband, the Chief Minister will be responsible,” she said.
If anything happens to my husband, I will pull everyone to the court of law & Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik alone will be responsible for this: Sujata Panigrahi, wife of Gopalpur MLA #PradeepPanigrahi slams Odisha govt pic.twitter.com/t7URuwMOUW— OTV (@otvnews) December 3, 2020
According to SambadEnglish, Sujata. claiming that her husband was being framed, said, “The government claims that Rs 2.5 crore has been deposited in my husband’s bank account. I accept that. We are ready to clarify on that. Without giving any opportunity to put our stand, the government has exerted undue pressure on us”.
Following his expulsion from the party after his alleged links with tainted IFS officer Abhay Kant Pathak surfaced, Panigrahi, in a series of media interviews had threatened to expose the corrupt practices of the Naveen Patnaik-led BJD government in the state. After his expulsion, Panigrahi had alleged that there is wide corruption in the procurement of sub-standard pulses for distribution in the mid-day meal programme of the state government. However, he has not clarified as to why he was silent regarding the so-called corruption till now.
MLA Pradeep Panigrahi expelled by BJD for ‘anti-people activities’
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’. 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 against the father-son duo.
Pradeep Panigrahi has been accused of helping Akash to defraud dozens of young men and women in the Ganjam district by promising them jobs in Tata Motors. It is notable here that much before the raids on IFS officer Abhay Kant Pathak, his son was named in an FIR filed by Tata Motors in Odisha Crime Branch. Akash was allegedly falsely claiming to be an MD at Tata Motors and has been duping dozens of youth of lakhs of rupees by promising them jobs in the company. Akash is also accused of using fake documents, fake email-id, logo and papers of Tata Motors in his elaborate fraud plan. As per reports in Odia media, most of the fraud victims are from the Gopalpur constituency, where Pradeep Panigrahi, Akash’ would-be father-in-law, is the MLA.
Panigrahi’s daughter was scheduled to marry Akash Pathak in an extravagant and lavish ceremony planned at the Hotel Lake Palace, Udaipur this month.