A day after the vigilance wing of the Naveen Patnaik government lodged an FIR against former Director General of Police, and now special secretary of Ministry of Home Affairs, Prakash Mishra, the 1977-batch IPS officer hit back saying if the government found him corrupt, how did it appoint him as the state police chief two years ago.
On Wednesday, the vigilance police lodged an FIR against Mishra alleging that during his reign as chairman-cum-managing director of OPHWC between 2006 and 2009, he gave advance payment of Rs 59 crore to some steel and cement suppliers in 2009. Director of Vigilance KB Singh said a special audit was done which faulted Mishra. A case under Prevention of Corruption Act and several sections of IPC have been lodged against Mishra.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Mishra sarcastically asked if the government found him ‘extremely corrupt’ between 2006 and 2009, why did it bring him back from central deputation to make state police chief in June 2012.
“A case is made as if I ran away with the money. Even when I became DGP, no one ever asked me to explain the alleged irregularities. If the vigilance officials conducted an inquiry before lodging the FIR, then I should have been asked to explain. What sort of inquiry is this,” he asked, hinting that the move was to prevent him from becoming the next director of CBI. The government will soon shortlist names for the post of CBI director before Ranjit Sinha’s tenure ends in December this year.
Mishra said the allegation of financial misdemeanour falls flat as supplies have been received in lieu advance given to steel and cement suppliers. “Advance is permissible under vigilance department rules. Only in a few cases the accounts have to be reconciled. The CAG in its report has also stressed of reconciling the accounts. In any case, it was the duty of my successors to reconcile the accounts or call me if there was any anomaly. Why wait for five years,” he asked.
Senior IPS officers of Orissa said during Mishra’s tenure the volume of work of the Corporation had suddenly increased to about Rs 200 crore per year. Works were being executed departmentally without contractors. Prior to his joining, steel and cement were being purchased also from manufacturers against payment of advance which used to be adjusted subsequently against supporting documents including details of the receipt of stock.
“Adjustment was a continuous process. At any given point of time, even now, there would be some outstanding advance awaiting adjustment. The board of directors during Mishra’s tenure streamlined the process of procurement of steel and cement further by taking a decision to procure Steel and Cement from reputed manufacturers of the country to ensure both economy and quality. The same decision is being followed by the Corporation even today,” said a former senior official of the Corporation.
Sources said during Mishra’s incumbency advance to reputed manufacturers were given for about Rs 60 crore from time to time. The amount used to get adjusted from time to time and got adjusted to the extent of about Rs 52 crore by the time Mishra was transferred. Subsequently, the outstanding Rs 8 crore of outstanding advance has got adjusted to the extent of Rs 5 crores leaving a balance of only about Rs 3 crore for which supporting documents are with the Corporation.