Odisha’s vigilance department has registered a case against former director general of police Prakash Mishra on charges of financial impropriety during his tenure as chairman of state-run Odisha State Police Housing and Welfare Corporation (OSPHWC), an official said on Thursday.
The development may have a bearing on the on-going chit fund scam in the state by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
“The financial impropriety was pointed out by a special audit. Mishra had taken control of the material wing, which is generally vested with the deputy project manager of the OSPHWC, and placed orders worth Rs. 59 crore with steel and cement suppliers abusing his official position and had given 100% advance to them,” vigilance director KB Singh said, adding that the suppliers defaulted on delivery and stock worth Rs. 5 crore is yet to be supplied.
Mishra, 58, was the chairman of OSPHWC between 2006 and 2009. He is now posted as a special secretary for internal security at Union ministry of home affairs and is one of the frontrunners for the post of CBI director.
Talking to HT over telephone from New Delhi, Mishra said: “I had not imagined that they (the state government) would stoop so low to prevent an Odia officer to head the CBI. If my role as chairman of OSPHWC between 2006 and 2009 was under scrutiny, how could they make me the director general of police in 2012?”
Mishra added that the audit report, on the basis of which the case against him had been registered, did not mention his name and he was not asked to present his case before an inquiry.
The case against Mishra, a 1977-batch IPS officer with an impeccable track record so far, has raised many eyebrows too, at a time when the central investigating agency is probing the multi-crore chit fund scam in the state under the direction of the Supreme Court.
The CBI has interrogated many senior Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leaders and arrested former advocate general Ashok Mohanty for their alleged involvement with Odisha-based chit fund company Artha Tatwa group.
Senior police officers said the case against Mishra smacked of vendetta because he did not tow the ruling BJD’s line during the general elections when he was the director general of police of the state.
“This is a setback to all upright officers who sincerely work for the state and its people and do not oblige political masters,” said a senior officer on condition of anonymity.
The state government had appointed Mishra in July 2012 after bringing him in from central deputation at the height of Maoist insurgency in the state. Maoist insurgency declined considerably during his two-year term.
Last year, Mishra was short-listed for central deputation for appointment to the post of special director in the CBI. The state government recommended his name in December 2013 as well.
On May 28 this year, the state government wrote to the central government withdrawing its recommendation citing “shortage of police officers in the state at the director general level” as its reason.
Just six days later, on June 5, Mishra was removed as the DGP and made the chairman and managing director of Odisha State Road Transport Corporation – a non-police cadre post perceived to be below the rank of a director general.
When the central government again short-listed Mishra to be the special secretary in the Union ministry of home affairs thereafter, the state government gave the go ahead, but only after Union home minister took up the matter with chief minister Naveen Patnaik.