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Opinion

Odisha job scam on the rise, investigators suspect 100 youths were misled

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The Tata Motors job scam that led to the arrest of former BJD MLA Pradeep Panigrahy appears to be growing with the Odisha CID estimating that at least 100 young people in Ganjam district were cheated out of anything between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 10 lakh for a I work in the company.

Last week, the CID arrested former BJD minister Pradeep Panigrahy on various criminal charges, including defrauding unemployed youth of hundreds of thousands of rupees by promising them jobs at Tata Motors. A week before that, policing officers learned of the massive job scam after they arrested Abhay Pathak, a 1987 Indian Forest Service officer and his son Akash Pathak, a 25-year-old mechanical engineering graduate from a private engineering university. in Bhubaneswar accused of accumulating disproportionate assets. Further questioning of the Pathak duo by surveillance officers revealed the extent of the job scam that the young Pathak had allegedly hatched with Panigrahy.

CID detectives investigating the Tata Motors job scam said the young Pathak spun a web of lies from posing as managing director of Tata Motors’ ‘passenger division’ to delivering false union letters to youth for the graduate engineer positions in training as well as management trainees at Tata Motors to create a fake LinkedIn profile of yourself.

His name entered police files after Tata Motors filed a complaint with the state CID in May this year about Akash posing as the CEO of the company. Tata Motors followed up with another complaint in September. However, there was little action on it until his father’s disproportionate assets case exploded last month.

“He may have been a mediocre engineer. But the kind of fraud he has perpetrated against young people is incredible. While we’ve seen people posing as IAS or IPS officers, this is the first time we’ve seen an engineering graduate posing as CEO of a BSE-listed company like Tata Motors. From our preliminary assessment, we have found that at least 100 young people paid Rs 5-10 for a job at Tata Motors. He is none other than Mr. Natwarlal, ”said a senior CID official who is investigating the case.

Authorities said that with the help of Panigrahy and his disgraced father, Akash Pathak opened the offices of “Tata Motors” in Mumbai, Pune, as well as one of his father’s official offices in Bhubaneswar. In addition to floating advertisements on job portals for recruitment in the passenger division of Tata Motors, he conducted interviews with candidates online. He even appointed a personal assistant to help him with airline reservations and answer his emails. He had also hired gorillas from Mumbai.

David Peter, who worked as his personal assistant since November 2019, revealed how a person in Ganjam used to coordinate the recruitment until Pathak himself conducted interviews via the Zoom app during the Covid pandemic.

“Before the pandemic, I used to make a list of job applicants and summon them for an office meeting. Candidates who were selected for the management apprenticeship position were promised an annual CTC of Rs 11 lakh, while intern engineering graduates were promised Rs 6 lakh. For a moment, I never doubted that he was not the CEO of Tata Motors, as he used to fly to Delhi, Mumbai and Pune and stay in the most elegant hotels in the country, ”Peter told his CID during questioning.

During the shutdown when regular commercial flights were not allowed, Pathak along with his father Abhay Pathak and his future father-in-law Panigrahy took 14 chartered flights to various cities in the country. He has also stayed in star hotels at least 15 times this year, with room rents exceeding Rs 2.3 lakhs per day. Posing as Tata Motors MD, he even donated Rs 5 lakh to the Chief Minister’s relief fund.

Bhubaneswar police have brought a case against Pathak’s father-son duo for failing to pay Rs 65 lakh to a city-based travel agency that booked their chartered flights, five-star hotels and airline tickets. The agency had billed them 2.78 million rupees, but they have been paid 2.13 million rupees so far. When the agency asked them for the rest of the money, they were threatened.

Surveillance officials who investigated Abhay Pathak’s disproportionate assets said that around Rs 17 crore was transacted through his son’s account over the past year and in one case cash of Rs 1 crore was deposited through an ATM. automatic. Investigators who are still tying up the loose ends of the case say that Panigrahy’s money, as well as Major Pathak’s money, was being deposited into Akash Pathak’s account.

While his can of worms is spilling, officials said Pathak is still holding firm on his claim to be Tata Motors MD. “He still claims he is Tata Motors MD and can prove it. He was just an engineering graduate who couldn’t have even managed to become a senior engineer at Tata Motors in 2 years. We may have to do his psychoanalysis, ”said an official.

The father and son duo who were arrested on November 27 remain in jail.

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