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Thursday, March 04, 2021

HC dismisses vigilance probe against jailed Odisha MLA

The bench of Chief Justice S Muralidhar and Justice Biswanath Rath ruled that a complainant cannot be the investigator in a quasi-judicial proceeding, said the legislator's lawyer Pitambar Acharya.

Written by Aishwarya Mohanty | Bhubaneswar |
February 4, 2021 3:27:07 am
Pradeep Panigrahy was expelled from BJD days after the state Vigilance Department arrested senior Forest Service officer Abhay Pathak and his son for allegedly amassing assets disproportionate to their income.

The Orissa High Court Wednesday dismissed the state Lokayukta’s order for a Vigilance Department investigation against Gopalpur MLA Pradeep Panigrahi, who was arrested by the Crime Branch last year in a cheating case.

The bench of Chief Justice S Muralidhar and Justice Biswanath Rath ruled that a complainant cannot be the investigator in a quasi-judicial proceeding, said the legislator’s lawyer Pitambar Acharya.

On December 11, the state Lokayukta directed the Vigilance Department to conduct a preliminary inquiry against the MLA and submit a report within two months. The direction was issued after a recommendation from Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. Notably, this was the first case of corruption allegation which was referred to the state Lokayukta by the state government after its formation. Panigrahi had filed a petition against the order in the High Court. The court observed that such direction was not acceptable as Vigilance Department was the petitioner before the Lokayukta.

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