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Vigilance registers fraud case against Dharmendra’s brother




 The anti-corruption vigilance wing of the Odisha Police today registered a fraud case against four persons including Soumendra Pradhan, brother of Union Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, officials said.

"A case has been registered against four persons including Soumendra Pradhan under section 120(B), 420 of IPC along with section 7 and 8 of the Indian Explosive Act," Vigilance Director R P Sharma told reporters here.

The case was registered after a five-member Vigilance team led by a DSP rank officer launched a raid on Pradhan's gas agency in Angul and Talcher today.

The raids continued for about two-and-half hours this evening, the officials said.

On January 14 the vigilance team had raided several petrol pumps and cooking gas agencies, including the one belonging to Pradhan's brother following allegations of adulteration and black-marketing.

"It was found that Pradhan's agency had supplied 40 gas cylinders at one point," a senior vigilance officer said adding the department had received allegations of black-marketing of cooking gas by agencies, adulteration of diesel, petrol and lubricants and its sale in lesser quantity.

The raids were conducted in Koraput, Nawarangpur, Puri, Bhubaneswar, Berhampur, Balasore, Sambalpur, Bargarh, Angul and Cuttack, a vigilance department statement said.

The vigilance officer said a case has been registered against Talcher-based proprietor of Pradhan Gas Service Soumendra Pradhan and two of his employees and owner of a nearby gas cylinder godown after shortage of 40 cylinders was detected.

The missing 40 cylinders, issued in the names of different consumers, were allegedly sold to the godown owner without any valid documents.

BJP state General Secretary Prithviraj Harichandan alleged the raids were an example of misuse of vigilance by the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) government.

Pradhan, however, said he would not attach any political motives to the action as he is in-charge of the Ministry concerned.

"I should not say so (political vendetta). I am in-charge of this Ministry and sector. Every state has right to enforce the Essential Commodities Act. They (Odisha) have done that. Law will take its own course if they find something irregular," he said.

Besides, the "concerned (oil) companies will take action (in cases irregularities are found)," he said.

Odisha Vigilance Director R P Sharma refused to comment on the BJP allegations.

Meanwhile, Soumendra has moved the Orissa High Court seeking anticipatory bail in connection with the raid on his LPG distribution agency yesterday.

According to sources, Soumendra moved the High Court apprehending arrest by the Vigilance Department which has claimed irregularities in his agency.






Editorial

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From asking his party men to ‘live a simple life and serve the people’ to taunting the BJP for its ‘crocodile tears’, Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik has not only become politically invincible, he seems to be so in the coming years too.

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