Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday referred the complaint of corruption against expelled BJD MLA Pradeep Panigrahi to the Lokayukta for investigation. This is the first corruption case referred by the state government to the Lokayukta, since its establishment in February 2019.
Panigrahi, a three-time MLA and a former minister, was arrested on December 3 for allegedly defrauding people promising them jobs, and sent to jail. "The state government is known for its strong action against corruption in public life," a statement issued by the Chief Minister's Office said.
The government is committed to provide a transparent administration to the people of Odisha, it added. The Gopalpur MLA was accused of collecting money in the name of providing jobs in a private company on behalf of Akash Kumar Pathak, son of suspended forest officer Abhay Kant Pathak.
Patnaik, also the BJD president, had expelled Panigrahi from the party for "anti-people activities" on November 29. Panigrahi was once very close to Patnaik and even worked as his representative in the Hinjili assembly constituency in Ganjam district held by the BJD president since 2000.