Salary Rs 8,500, gram rojgar sevak owns 59 plots in Odisha
The Odisha vigilance has started a probe into the wealth amassed by a gram rojgar sevak who has bought 59 plots even though he is entitled to a monthly salary of Rs 8,500.
Out of 59 plots bought by him, 58 are located in the prime areas of Bhubaneswar while one is in Cuttack district.
Acting on a tip off about possession of disproportionate assets by GRS Babuli Charan Padihari, state vigilance officials on Monday conducted raids at six places including his house in Bhubaneswar. He is at present working as GRS at Injana Gram Panchayat (formerly known as Kalarahanga GP located on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar). Raids are still going on. GRSs are engaged on contract basis in every gram panchayat. The prime duty of the GRS is to help the technical person to strengthen the MGNREGA works and other official works related to MGNREGA.
In a press release, the vigilance said: “Assets worth crores, including 59 plots in prime areas of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, unearthed in house search of GRS. Besides the plots, it has so far also unearthed one triple storeyed building worth Rs 1.24 crore, double storeyed building (valuation is still being carried on by the vigilance technical team), 2 BHK flats (worth Rs 14 lakh), single storeyed building (worth Rs 14.18 lakh). Besides, one four wheeler, one two wheeler and cash, bank deposits worth Rs 8.85 lakh.”
The press release further said, “Padhihari, GRS had entered into the government service as GRS on March 1, 2008. With his current salary of Rs 8,500 per month, he is found to have acquired huge properties disproportionate to his known source of income. Further searches are continuing. Unearthing of more assets is likely and overall valuation is likely to increase.”
SP, Vigilance (Bhubaneswar), Anupama James told The Telegraph: “We are investigating into how the GRS managed to accumulate such huge properties. The raids which started on Monday are still continuing. The investigation is on. It’s too early to make a comment on the issue.”
However, vigilance sources said that Padhihari was involved in the land deal business and managed to earn the money using his influence as the GRS.
“He knows about land at prime locations. We are investigating whether he acquired the plots from farmers through dubious means or in some other way. Whether he has sold the plots to customers using fraudulent means,” said an official.
The vigilance has also decided to intimate his sources of income to the enforcement directorate and the income tax department.