Report by Badal Tah; Rayagada, September 19: As a part of Anti-graft measure, the state vigilance department has raided the houses of Sri Gagan Bihari Pati, Junior Engineer(JE) of Integrated Tribal Development Agency(ITDA), Gunupur. On the strength of a search warrant obtained from the court of Special Judge, Berhampur in Misc. Case no 6/2018, raid by the vigilance sleuths went on last Wednesday at five places simultaneously in Pati’s three-storey building at Siddharth Nagar, his parental house at Co-operative Colony, his father’s in law’s house at Routpeta Street in Berhampur, his residential quarter at Khan Sahi, Muniguda and his office room at ITDA office Gunupur in Rayagada. Several bundles of notes of five hundred and two thousand denominations amounting around thirty lakhs were confiscated from the washing machine. Gold ornaments worth lakhs of rupees were also seized. Several important documents bearing proof of his fixed deposits, insurance, land and building deeds, etc were also seized. The raid was underway till the filling of this report.
During the year 2013 vigilance detected property worth Rs 1,14,08,486 of Rayagada ITDA Junior Engineer Manguli Charan Rout after allegations of disproportionate assets. During 2016, movable and immovable property in the tune of rupees seventy five lakhs of Forester Sri K Jeyraju were seized. The anti-corruption officials recovered assets of over Rs 1 crore from the possession of Ashok Kumar Patra, pharmacist of Narayanpur sub-health centre under Kalyansinghpur block in Rayagada district during a raid on his office and residence during 2016. During 2017, Vigilance sleuths conducted raids at Gunupur Excise Inspector Lalitmohan Mishra’s office and residence on allegation of amassing assets around rupees one crore disproportionate to his known sources of income. Again during fag end of 2017, a five-member Vigilance team conducted the raid at the Raniguda residence of Sri Gadadhar Sahoo, the then primary school teacher of Tarlabadi school and seized DA worth Rs 1 Cr from the spot. Raids on several properties of Adhikari Ashok Kumar Chatarjee, Regional officer of the Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB), Rayagada were made during 2017 and total of movable and immovable assets worth Rs 1,13,63,699 were detected in the name of Chatarjee and his family members.
“Of late during last two to three years, Rayagada has become the hub of corruption by govt officials at the lower hierarchy. The graft charges against the horticulture and watershed deptt of Rayagada have been pointed out by none other than the local MLA Sri Lal Bihari Himirika and Sri N Bhaskar Rao, MP, Rajya Sabha. There was a hue and cry about this by the past and present Ministers in Odisha Legislative assembly. This is just tips of the ice-berg as avalanche of corruption go unnoticed. In spite of observance of vigilance awareness weeks every year by the department, the corruption is on the rise. The corrupted officials care a damn for these raids due to several loopholes in the law and lack of strict monitoring by the departmental higher ups. In fact, the benefactors corruption are in all levels of bureaucracy and their political masters. Nevertheless, anti-corruption wing of the Govt is a hope in the ocean of graft”, said Sri Rabindra Patakhandal, Convenor of Suchana Adhikar Manch.