Bhubaneswar: The State Vigilance under the Mo Sarkar initiative today arrested IAS officer Bijay Ketan Upadhyaya on charges of corruption involving a bribe of Rs 1 lakh. The 2009 batch IAS officer was serving as Director of Horticulture in the Agriculture Department.
According to the State Vigilance, Upadhyaya, and one Santosh Kumar Pattanayak, Relationship Manager of YES Bank, Bapuji Nagar branch were caught by the sleuths with the illegal gratification of Rs 1 lakh. The money was being demanded from the authorized representative of SRM Plastochem against payment of over Rs 50 lakh released to the company’s account. SRM Plastochem Private Ltd. is an empanelled supplier under Directorate of Horticulture for supply of Sprinklers to eligible farmers in Odisha under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY).
As per procedure, after supply of micro irrigation systems to eligible farmers, Deputy Director of Horticulture of districts prepares bills after field verification and forwards the same to the Director, Horticulture for final approval and payment. After approval by the Director, payments are released to the account of the concerned company/dealer/supplier, the Vigilance Directorate stated in a press note released today.
“For approving the bills for payment to SRM Plastochem, Upadhyaya had demanded part of the payment amount as bribe from the complainant (authorised representative of SRM Plastochem Pvt. Ltd.) after the payment was credited to the account of the company. He had directed him to pay the bribe amount to Pattanayak who has been receiving bribes from different companies, dealers and suppliers on behalf of Upadhyaya,” the note read.
“Today a trap was laid at about 12:50 pm. Pattanayak was caught red-handed by the Vigilance Officers of Cell Division, Cuttack after receipt of bribe of Rs 1 lakh from the complainant on behalf of Upadhyaya in front of YES Bank, Bapuji Nagar, Bhubaneswar,” it added.
Simultaneous searches are being conducted at the office, residential house, houses of the relatives of Upadhyaya and Pattnayak and other suspects at different places in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Balasore to trace out incriminating documents and possession of disproportionate assets. In this connection, Vigilance Cell has registered a case under multiple Sections of the IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act.
Upadhyaya and Pattanayak have been taken to custody for interrogation and further investigation. More than 100 vigilance officers and other officials have been deployed for conducting searches at 11 locations. Teams consisting of Chartered Accountant, Bank Officer and officers of Cyber Cell are assisting in the investigation, the State Vigilance Directorate stated.