Bhubaneswar: An Odisha-cadre Indian Forest Service officer of 1987-batch, Abhay Kant Pathak is in news for the wrong reasons. Pathak, posted as the Additional Principal Conservator of Forests (Additional PCCF) Plan, Prgramme and Afforestation, allegedly spent Rs 3 crore on chartered flights for travel to Pune, Bhubaneswar, Patna, Mumbai, Jamshedpur and Delhi, the State Vigilance Directorate informed today.
On November 25 and 26, the officers of Vigilance Cell Division, of the Directorate carried out massive searches across India to probe into the assets acquired and expenses of Pathak in the recent times. The searches were carried out at 5 places in Bhubaneswar, 7 in Mumbai and Pune and at 1 location in Bihar, on the strength of warrants issued by the Special Judge, Vigilance, Bhubaneswar.
Further details of the searches as shared by the anti-corruption agency is as follows:
- Official residence (quarter), office and flat of Pathak at Bhubaneswar;
- Flat of his relative at Vipul Garden, Ghatikia, Bhubaneswar and house of driver at Pipili;
- House at native village Bishnupur in Khagaria of Bihar;
- Pune: Two Luxury flats at Waters Apartment and God’s Blessing Apartment, Office, one farm house in Hill Town Area, Bhugaon in Mulsi hired by his son on rent, residence of his son’s manager at Samata Colony;
- Mumbai: The house and restaurant of his son’s associate at Juhu and Mulund.
“Simultaneous verification were made at other places in Bhubaneswar, Mumbai, Pune and Udaipur, which are still continuing,” a Vigilance official said.
“During the course of house search and subsequent enquiry, till now, cash of about Rs 60 lakh have been found. Besides, costly household articles and gold ornaments weighing 800 grams have been found during the search. Further documents relating to purchase of gold ornaments worth Rs 23 lakh have also been recovered,” the official added.
The anti-corruption agency has ascertained that cash deposits of about Rs 9.40 crore have been made in the bank accounts of Pathak’s son, out of which about Rs 8.40 crores has been deposited at Bhubaneswar. The huge deposits have been mostly made through ATMs at Saheed Nagar and Nayapalli area of the city, the Vigilance said.
The State Vigilance have found expensive vehicles as Mercedes, BMW and Tata Harrier, and three costly Yamaha motorcycles registered in the name of his son. Pathak’s son has also been hiring expensive cars on rent. “So far, vehicle hiring charges to the tune of Rs 25 lakh has been ascertained.”
“Similarly, more than Rs 1 crore has been paid towards house rent of the luxury flats and the farm house. Hotel bills of more than Rs 90 lakh at Hotel Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai and advance booking amount of Rs 20 lakh at Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur in Rajasthan have also been paid,” the Vigilance said.
The foreign travel details of tours to Malaysia, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Maldives etc. have been obtained by the Vigilance. “Charter flight bills worth nearly Rs 3 crore involving travel from and to cities like Pune, Bhubaneswar, Patna, Juhu, Mumbai, Jamshedpur, Delhi etc. have also been ascertained.”
“At present, teams comprising of Chartered Accountant, bankers, officers of the Cyber Cell and Document Examination Cell are assisting in the house search and verification operations. Further enquiry is in progress,” the Vigilance official further said.