A day after a cooking gas agency belonging to his brother were among petrol pumps and LPG agencies raided by the anti-corruption wing in Odisha, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Monday said nobody is above law which will take its course if any irregularity is found. “Nobody is above law, whosoever he may be,” Pradhan said when asked to comment on the raid conducted following allegations of adulteration and black-marketing.
He said state governments as per law can conduct searches and such an action should be taken to its logical conclusion of either punishing the guilty or exonerating those not involved.
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“States have a right under the Essential Commodities Act to carry out searches and take action. They have done it. It should be taken to logical conclusion,” he said.
“Nobody is above law, whether it is my bother or any of my relative. If they find something irregular, law will take its own course.”
On Saturday, Odisha’s anti-corruption vigilance department conducted raids at several petrol pumps and cooking gas agencies across the state, including the one belonging to Pradhan’s the brother following allegation of adulteration and black-marketing.
Based on the allegation of black-marketing of cooking gas by agencies, adulteration of diesel, petrol and lubricants and its sale in lesser quantity, searches were conducted in places such as Koraput, Nawarangpur, Puri, Bhubaneswar, Berhampur, Balsore, Sambalpur, Bargarh, Angul and Cuttack, a vigilance department statement said.
The premises searched included a gas agency of Pradhan’s brother at Talcher in Angul district.
BJP State General Secretary Prithviraj Harichandan alleged that the move is 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 would take action (in cases irregularities are found)”, he said.