Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday recommended an investigation by the Lokayukta into corruption allegations against former minister Pradeep Panigrahy, his office said. This the first corruption complaint referred by the government to the anti-corruption ombudsman since its creation over a year ago.
“The state government led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is known for its strong action against corruption in public life and committed to providing a transparent administration to the people of the State,” the Chief Minister’s Office said, according to The New Indian Express.
Panigrahy was arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department on December 3 for his alleged role in a jobs scam, Hindustan Times reported. He had been expelled from the Biju Janata Dal four days before that.
Panigrahy and his would-be son-in-law Akash Pathak had allegedly taken Rs 6 lakh from about 120 job seekers in Ganjam district on the pretext of providing them employment opportunities in Tata Motors.
Akash Pathak allegedly posed as the managing director of Tata Motors’ passenger car division, according to Hindustan Times. Both Pathak and Panigrahy were arrested for cheating and forgery.
Akash Pathak’s father, suspended bureaucrat Abhay Kant Pathak, is facing accusations of accumulating disproportionate assets. He is also in jail.
The Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party have been demanding that Panigrahy be expelled from the Assembly too, The Indian Express reported. Members of the Congress, in a letter to Patnaik, said that Panigrahy had lost credibility after his arrests and his membership of the Assembly must be revoked.