Odisha official arrested for fraud, swindling

Bhubaneswar, July 3 (IANS) The Economic Offence Wing (EOW) of Odisha Police’s Crime Branch said it had on Sunday arrested an official, who was absconding after being accused of defrauding the state government by issuing a fake gazette notification and swindling public money.

Crime Branch’s Special Director General Bijay Kumar Sharma said Motilal Gouda, the suspended assistant director (medical) of Factories and Boiler Department, was arrested from Andhra Pradesh by a special investigation team after a four-day manhunt.

“We will produce him before the court on Monday and seek his remand for further probe into the allegations,” he said.

The Odisha government had suspended in November 2015 for remaining absent from duty for a long period without permission.

Gouda had while working in the Health Department as a medical officer, allegedly issued a fake notification asking industries in the state to get the health check-ups of their staff done at five pathological laboratories empanelled by the government.

Based on this notification, he even managed to sign a contract worth Rs 63 lakh with aluminium major Nalco.

The vigilance sleuths on Saturday raided the house of Gouda after allegations of corruption.

An official statement said Gouda acquired properties worth Rs 60 lakh in his short span of service period of about seven years.

Meanwhile, Excise Minister Damodar Rout on Sunday questioned the efficiency of the government machinery after the issue of the fraudulent gazette notification by Gouda cropped up.

“Who in the administration are involved in the fraud? I completely agree with the questions being raised in this matter. How come he was transferred from Health Department to another department and appointed as an assistant director? How was the gazette notification changed, something that is usually cleared by a minister?” he asked.

The opposition members meanwhile alleged that Gouda had proximity with some ruling Biju Janata Dal leaders including Law Minister Arun Sahu and BJD’s student wing president and legislator Byomakesh Ray.

–IANS

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