‘Odisha IFS officer who took 20 chartered flights during lockdown arrested’: surveillance officials
A day after the Odisha surveillance department ended its nationwide raids on the Abhay Pathak Indian Forest Service facility for its ‘unaccounted for riches’, detectives arrested him on Friday along with his son. The raids revealed the officer’s lavish lifestyle disproportionate to his known sources of income. Pathak was suspended by the state government after his arrest.
Pathak, an IFS officer from 1987, working as Odisha’s chief additional chief conservator of forests (plan, program, and afforestation) since June 2018, was arrested after surveillance officers conducted raids at 13 locations, including his official residence in Bhubaneswar, his office, his apartment, his nephew’s apartment, the driver’s house, his house in his home town in Bihar, luxury apartments and country house in Pune and the residence of his son’s manager in Samata Colony, Pune.
His son Abhay Pathak, who owned expensive vehicles such as Mercedes, BMW and Tata Harrier, as well as high-end motorcycles such as Yamaha FZS motorcycles, was also arrested.
The arrests came after a team of more than 150 surveillance officers, including public accountants, bank officials and cyber cells, searched documents and other records of Pathak and her family.
Read also: ‘Biggest Catch Ever’ – Odisha IFS Officer on Surveillance Network for ‘Unaccounted for Riches’
The father and son duo were medically examined before appearing in local court. Both denied the accusations of accumulating disproportionate assets.
“My son receives a salary of Rs 1 crore a month. I have no ill-gotten wealth and everything is legal, ”said Pathak as his son said they were being framed. A special surveillance team questioned Pathak, his son, his nephew Harsh and their driver last night.
During search operations in the past two days, surveillance detectives discovered that Pathak and his family had made at least 20 trips to different cities in the country via chartered planes at a cost of more than 3 million rupees during the shutdown. . Pathak was found to have made cash deposits of approximately Rs 9.4 million to his son’s bank accounts, of which approximately Rs 8.4 million were deposited in Bhubaneswar through ATMs. During the house search and subsequent investigation, cash worth around Rs 60 lakh was found along with gold ornaments weighing 800 grams. It was discovered that he owned a luxurious 8,000-square-foot apartment with an ivory-covered bed.
Officials also found hotel bills worth more than Rs 90 lakhs at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai, and a reservation amount of Rs 20 lakhs at Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur in Rajasthan for his son’s upcoming marriage to the daughter of an older BJD. Ganjam district politician.
Authorities said Pathak was found in possession of disproportionate assets to the tune of Rs 9.35 crore, which was 435 percent of his total income from all known sources. Consequently, a case has been registered against the officer and his son under various sections of the Corruption Prevention (Amendment) Act 2018. The father and son duo were in judicial custody until 9 December.
Oversight department officials said that since huge cash deposits were made in private banks via deposit slips and ATM counters and high-value transactions were made in the accounts, the details of the operations of the banks involved in this regard. Similarly, as bookings and payments related to chartered flights have been made through Bhubaneswar-based travel agencies, their role is under investigation. The details of the income tax returns are being evaluated. Investments in stocks, mutual funds and other market instruments are also being investigated. The transaction and property aspects of benami are also being studied.
In view of the increasing scope of the investigation, a 20-member SIT has been formed to fully investigate all aspects.
Pathak’s son Akash was allegedly cheating people out of money, promising to get them jobs at Tata Motors by falsely claiming that he was managing director of Tata Motors. In May, the company had complained to the CID against Akash, accusing him of cheating, forgery and impersonating the CEO of the company.