The expelled BJD MLA Pradeep Panigrahy allegedly stayed in hotels that cost Rs 2.7 lakh a day
The expelled BJD MLA Pradeep Panigrahy stayed in luxury hotels in Delhi and Mumbai costing up to Rs 2.71 lakh per day and had spent around Rs 84 lakh while staying at the Taj Hotel in Mumbai during the shutdown, investigators investigating the case Disproportionate Assets of Senior Indian Forest Service Officer Abhay Pathak said.
Panigrahy, who was kicked out of the BJD on Sunday for “anti-people activities,” is under scanner from both the surveillance department and the state CID for his alleged financial transactions with the corrupt IFS official, as well as the job scam at that several young men from Gopalpur were allegedly defrauded with the false promise of getting a job at Tata Motors. Abhay Pathak’s son Akash had allegedly scammed several young men by promising them jobs at Tata Motors.
The surveillance officers who raided the IFS officer’s home again on Tuesday said they were trying to find out if the officer had any illegal financial transactions with the MLA. Pathak has been accused of accumulating Rs 9.3 crore of assets disproportionate to his known sources of income.
The Biju Janata Dal has accused Panigrahy of flying chartered planes and enjoying luxurious accommodations in cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Pune when the Covid-19 situation was dire in the Ganjam district.
“He was deceiving people in his own constituency and taking bribes by promising unemployed youth that he would provide them with work through Akash Pathak. He also broke people’s trust by leading a luxurious lifestyle while the people of Ganjam suffered during Covid. That is why Naveen Patnaik took the most energetic action against him, ”said BJD spokesman Lenin Mohanty.
“CM consciously used the word anti-people as Panigrahy was like Nero playing music when all of Rome was on fire. It is a very callous and inhuman display of power and arrogance that is characteristic of Pradeep Panigrahy’s anti-popular attitude, ”Mohanty said.
A defiant Panigrahy asked why the government didn’t stop him when he was traveling on chartered flights during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Why now? I have traveled with the permission of the DGCA and AAI. There is nothing wrong with it,” he said.
Panigrahy alleged that he had been made a scapegoat to divert public attention from issues such as the murder of a 5-year-old girl in Nayagarh and the suicide of farmers. “There is no official complaint registered against me. However, the police are arresting my relatives and family members at midnight and using third degree torture to force them to file FIR against me, ”he said.
Panigrahy said he wrote a letter to Naveen Patnaik in which he accused the police of torturing his relatives and forcing them to give statements against him.
“The government is misusing its agencies to harass me and my family members. I do not know if the CM is aware of these conspiracies motivated against me. However, I tried to communicate with Naveen Patnaik via phone call, but I was not allowed to speak to him. I urge the media to stop the “media trial” against me. I still trust the Chief Minister. He was fond of me. I just want to know if he is aware of the harassment I have been facing, ”she said.