The Odisha government has written to the Centre recommending the compulsory retirement of Indian Forest Service Officer Abhay Kant Pathak on Thursday. This comes after the state vigilance department arrested Pathak and his son Akash Pathak for allegedly “amassing ill gotten wealth” of more than 20 crore under a disproportionate assets case. Senior Odisha government officials said that this is for the first time that an All India Services Officer has been “recommended by the Odisha government” for compulsory retirement on grounds of corruption.
State government officials said that Pathak “was making cash deposits of his ill-gotten wealth in his son Akash Pathak’s bank accounts and further helping his son in fraudulently posing as MD of Tata Motors. His son has been also arrested by Crime Branch in case of forgery, cheating and duping unemployed youth by taking huge cash from them by falsely promising them jobs in Tata Motors,” the state government said.
Speaking to The Indian Express, senior advocate Pitambar Acharya, lawyer for the Pathaks, said that “these were only allegations” and there was a lack of consistency. “The investigation is yet to be completed. Even the chargesheet has not yet been submitted by the vigilance wing. Allegations like this have been leveled against other bureaucrats of the state, like alleged cases of corruption in PPE kits. That is being enquired into by the Lokayukta, and they have recommended it to the Vigilance department for enquiry. If the government is that transparent, then similar recommendations should also be made then,” Acharya said.