Expelled BJD MLA arrested in Tata Motors job scam

Pradeep Panigrahy is said to have connived with the son of a forest officer to con many people by promising them jobs at Tata Motors.
Pradeep Panigrahy being produced in a court on Thursday night.(HT PHOTO)
Pradeep Panigrahy being produced in a court on Thursday night.(HT PHOTO)
Updated on Dec 04, 2020 01:23 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar | ByDebabrata Mohanty

Four days after he was expelled from Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal, three-time MLA and former minister Pradeep Panigrahy was arrested by the CID in a cybercrime case in which he allegedly defrauded several youths promising them jobs in Tata Motors.

CID officials who had picked Panigrahy this evening from his official residence in Bhubaneswar arrested him under different sections of the Indian Penal Code and the IT Act 2000 accusing him of collecting money on behalf of Akash Pathak , falsely promising jobs in Tata Motors. The sub divisional magistrate’s court in Bhubaneswar remanded him judicial custody for 14 days.

Akash Pathak, son of senior Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer Abhay Pathak is already in jail since last week in a disproportionate assets case filed by the vigilance department. Over the last few days several youths in Gopalpur, the constituency of Panigrahy, had accused Pathak of promising them jobs in Tata Motors posing as managing director of Tata Motors passenger car division.

Tata Motors too had accused Pathak of impersonation and forgery and had lodged a complaint with the CID after it was revealed that Pathak conned many people by introducing himself as MD (in-charge) of Tata Motors passenger car division.

Panigrahy’s wife Sujata said the case was an attempt to frame her husband. “Several persons identifying themselves as CID officials came to our residence at Unit-6 and took my husband with them in a vehicle informing me that they were taking him to the Economic Offence Wing office. If anything happens to my husband, I will drag everyone to the court and chief minister Naveen Patnaik alone will be responsible for this,” she said.

Vigilance and CID officials said they are further probing huge deposits into Panigrahy’s accounts. There were at least four instances when around 2 crore was deposited into his bank account by 5 different people. Similarly, 50 lakh was transferred from the account of Panigrahy to Akash Pathak.

Meanwhile, the Enforcement Directorate on Thursday began a probe into money laundering charges and financial affairs of suspended IFS officer Abhay Kant Pathak and his son Akash who had made 20 trips to different cities of the country during lockdown using chartered flights.

Joint Director (ED), Madhav Chandra Mishra said the agency would probe all the allegations of money laundering and other deposits and investments made by the father-son duo.

The vigilance department which is interrogating the father-son duo has so far found 16.05 crore including cash deposit of 10.76 crore in their bank accounts raising suspicion of benami transaction and money laundering.

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