Abhay Kant Pathak Suspended, 20-Member SIT To Probe IFS Officer’s ‘Massive’ Corruption Case

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Vigilance has setup a 20-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe into the disproportionate assets / corruption case of Odisha cadre Indian Forest Service Officer Abhay Kant Pathak, who was posted as the Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Plan, Program & Afforestation.

The State Government suspended Pathak over charges of corruption today evening. Both Pathak and his son Akash have been named in the case filed by the Vigilance following which they were arrested.

The Vigilance Cell has booked Pathak and his son under multiple Sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act and produced them before the Special Judge, Vigilance, Bhubaneswar today. The father-son duo’s bail petition was rejected following which they were remanded in judicial custody till December 9.

“Since huge cash deposits have been made in private banks through deposit slips and ATM counters and high value transactions have been made in the accounts, details of operations of the banks are being probed. The bookings and payments towards chartered flights have been made through Bhubaneswar-based travel agencies. So, the role of these agencies are being investigated,” an official of the State Vigilance said.

The sleuths are investigating income tax returns of Pathak and his son, apart from their investment in shares, mutual funds and other market instruments. The aspects of Benami transactions and properties are also being looked into.

“In view of the expanding scope of investigation, a 20 member SIT has been formed to thoroughly investigate all aspects. Additional SP, Vigilance Cell is investigating the case under close supervision of SP and DIG, Vigilance Cell. Services of Cyber, cell phone and forensic experts have also been sought to retrieve mobile and computer related data from the seized devices,” the Vigilance Directorate informed.

Pathak allegedly spent about Rs 3 crore on 20 chartered flights alone. A flat and farmhouse in Pune was also allegedly taken on a monthly rent of Rs 5 lakh for his son while he owned many luxury cars. During the raids, Rs 50 lakh cash was recovered from his nephew and Rs 20 lakh from his driver. The sleuths also seized over half kilograms of gold and Rs 10 lakh cash from his house.

Vigilance officials said cash deposits worth around Rs 9.4 crores were found to be made in the bank accounts of Akash of which about Rs 8.4 crores alone was in banks located in Bhubaneswar. The deposits were mostly made through ATMs at Saheed Nagar and Nayapalli in Bhubaneswar. Expensive vehicles like Mercedes, BMW and Tata Harrier and three Yamaha FZS motorcycles were found registered in the name of his son, who also hired expensive vehicles like Mercedes on rent in Pune.

Akash, who is also facing a fraud charge, has been brought from Pune to Bhubaneswar. The Crime Branch is probing him basing on Tata Motors’ complaint that Akash falsely claimed to be MD of its Transport Division. In Pune, Akash had hired two Mercedes cars for Rs 25 lakh, the Vigilance stated.