Bhubaneswar: Odisha Forest and Environment Minister Bikram Keshari Arukh today awarded compulsory retirement to two forest department officials over corruption charges, possessing disproportionate assets to the known sources of income and dereliction of duty.
The two forest officials have been identified as Laxman Pradhan, SCF, Kuldiha Range, Balasore Forest Division and Bharat Kumar Ghadai, Forester, Bisra Range, Panposh Forest Division in Sundargarh district.
As per the State I&PR Department’s press communiqué, SCF Laxman Pradhan had been placed under suspension following a case filed with the Lokpal on corruption charges. The General Administration (Vigilance) Department had initiated a disciplinary proceeding against him for dereliction of duty and amassing disproportionate assets. While he was in charge of Kuldiha Wildlife Range, a decomposed carcass of a tusker had been recovered and the two tusks were also missing.
Hence, the Forest Minister realized that Laxman Pradhan’s further period in service would be detrimental to public interest and decided to award Pradhan compulsory retirement.
In the case of Sundargarh district’s Bisra Renge Forester Bharat Kumar Ghadai, the State Vigilance had repeatedly registered cases over corruption charges. The cases are still pending against him.
Notably, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik under his 5T Initiative has issued directive to slap compulsory retirement on the State Government employees and officers who are found corrupt, inefficient, and abject dereliction of duty. Thus, the compulsory retirement has been exemplary punishment, the press communiqué stated.