Odisha government has compulsorily retired a private secretary of member of Odisha Staff Selection Commission two days after he was arrested by the state vigilance on charges of amassing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income.
The GA department in a notification said Biranchi Narayan Sahoo, private secretary to Odisha Staff Selection Commission member Jagannath Lenka was given compulsory retirement six months before his actual date of retirement as he was found to be very corrupt. As part of its policy of zero tolerance towards corruption, the Odisha government has already given compulsory retirement to more than 100 state government officials over corruption issues.
The anti-corruption sleuths of Odisha on Saturday arrested Sahoo after he was found to have amassed disproportionate assets amounting to a whopping ₹3.51 crore during his 28 years of service. The assets include 1.5 kg gold, two double-storeyed buildings in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, 14 plots in Bhubaneswar, Khurda and Puri, insurance premia worth over ₹56 lakh and ₹25 lakh in cash. His wife Sudhansubala and brother-in-law Manoranjan have also been arrested over their involvement in the disproportionate assets case.
His assets were 268% more than what he could have saved from his known sources of income. The coupld were found to have made trips to 10 foreign countries such as United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and Thailand.
The Odisha Staff Selection Commission selects candidates for Group-C posts such as field assistants, inspectors of supplies, assistant training officers, laboratory assistants, junior librarians, excise sub-inspectors, district culture officers, industries promotion officers, junior typists, traffic sub-inspectors, junior stenographers, welfare extension officers, marketing intelligence officers, amins, junior MVIs and junior engineers. Vigilance officials suspect that Sahoo may have received kickbacks from applicants by abusing his official position as some admit cards were recovered from his house. He has been working with the Commission since its inception in 1994.
On Monday, hundreds of members of students’ wing of Congress had a scuffle with the police while trying to barge into the office of the Odisha Staff Selection Commission demanding investigation into the case. The protesters alleged that several top officers at the leading recruitment office are involved in the bribery scandal in which Sahoo’s arrest was just a tip of the iceberg.
“The bribe culture has been running at the SSC office for the last 21 years. It has come to light recently only after the bribe share among the officials could not be distributed. We demand a thorough investigation into the recruitment of ineligible candidates who got job by giving bribe,” alleged Manas Choudhury, Congress leader.