Odisha: Senior IAS officer, five others convicted in ORHDC scam

Bhubaneswar: The Special Vigilance Court today convicted senior IAS officer Vinod Kumar and five others in connection with financial irregularities at Odisha Rural Housing Development Corporation (ORHDC), a state-owned public sector undertaking.

Kumar, who is currently serving as an Officer on Special Duty (OSD) in the State’s Higher Education Department, was the then former Managing Director of ORHDC.

The five other convicted are Sanjay Mohanty, Purna Chandra Das, Pradip Kumar Rout, Chittaranjan Mallick and Ashish Kumar Nayak. All are the employees of the Corporation.

All these six were found guilty of offences under sections 13(2) r/w 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and section 420/120-B of the Indian Penal Code for criminal conspiracy, obtaining pecuniary advantage to NGO Gramya Bikash Manch owned by Ashis Kumar Nayak by releasing funds in arbitrary manner without following the guidelines to set up Rural Building Centre (RBC), Balipatna and thereby cheating the state and the financial institutions, the court stated.

Only Sanjay Mohanty, who was working as an Assistant Manager of ORHDC, appeared before the court today. He has been awarded 3 years jail term. Besides, the court slapped Rs 25,000 penalty on him.

The court issued Non-bailable Warrant (NBW) against the five others as they were not present in the court during pronouncement of judgement, said Special Public Prosecutor Hemanta Kumar Swain.

The Vigilance Directorate had registered a case against Kumar of the Corporation for financial irregularities to the tune of Rs 55 lakh in 2000.

S.K Das Mohapatra, ex-Inspector of Police, Vigilance Cell, Cuttack had investigated the case.

During his tenure in 2000-01, the corporation allegedly granted loans to builders and contractors unscrupulously without obtaining adequate collateral security and not conducting pre and post sanction inspection. Moreover, no follow-up action was allegedly taken to recover loans. As a result, repayments up to Rs.100 crores remained outstanding and their realisation was remote, sources said.

An internal enquiry conducted by the ORHDC observed that the “state of affairs during the incumbency of Vinod Kumar as MD was quite scandalous” and viewed the same as “nothing less than looting.

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