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Odisha calls on the Center to forcefully remove an Indian Forest Service official for bribery | India News


BHUBANESWAR / DELHI: The Naveen Patnaik government in Odisha recommended to the Center the mandatory retirement of suspended Indian Forest Service official, Abhay Kant Pathak, for alleged corruption. The officer was recently arrested along with his son Akash for accumulating assets beyond their known sources of income, an official source said.
“Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has authorized the decision to recommend to the Center the mandatory retirement of the highly corrupt and high-flying officer. The state department of forests and environment will write to the Union ministry of environment and forests (the cadre control authority of IFS officers) in this regard, ”said a senior government official.
This is the first time that Odisha has recommended the mandatory retirement of a service officer from across India on corruption grounds. State surveillance officers arrested the father-son duo on November 27 for allegedly amassing assets worth Rs 20 million “recovered so far,” an official said. Both are currently in jail.
A government official may be removed “in the public interest” under the Central Public Administration (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1965, as a penalty for possession of assets disproportionate to a known source of income or for accepting gratuity as a reward for do or tolerate to make an official act.
A surveillance source said Abhay, a 1987 IFS officer, would make cash deposits of his ill-gotten wealth into his son’s bank accounts. He also helped Akash to fraudulently impersonate the CEO of Tata Motors and mislead vulnerable people by promising them jobs at the company by paying a huge amount of cash.
Akash faces charges of counterfeiting, cheating and deceiving unemployed youth. A case against him has been filed by the State Crimes Section, in the case based on an FIR filed by Tata Motors. Gopalpur MLA Pradeep Panigrahy has been arrested in the same case for alleged collusion with Akash.
Police said that during the lockdown, the Pathaks flew across India on chartered planes and stayed in five- and seven-star hotels in Delhi and Mumbai, among other places. They spent around 3 million rupees on charter flights during the shutdown, and they would also use ‘gorillas’ to show off their wealth. In a nationwide search, properties belonging to the Pathaks were found in Patna, Pune and different parts of Odisha.
Abhay last worked as an additional forestry and planning PCCF, a position he held from June 2018 until he was suspended following his arrest. The afforestation program was budgeted in millions of rupees, including funds from the Center-sponsored Compensatory Afforestation Fund Planning and Management Authority (Campa). Last year, the Center had released more than Rs 5.9 billion in CAMPA funds to the state.

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