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HC restrains Odisha govt from taking ‘coercive action’ against former DGP Prakash Mishra

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Oct 12:

The Odisha High Court today restrained the state government and the Vigilance department from taking any coercive action against the former DGP Prakash Mishra on the basis of an FIR filed against him for alleged irregularity in making advance payment of Rs 59 crore to some steel and cement supply firms during his tenure as CMD of the Odisha Police Housing and Welfare Corporation (OPHWC)  between 2006 and 2009.

Prakash Mishra, Spl Secy, MHA, Govt of India
Prakash Mishra, Spl Secy, MHA, Govt of India

While taking up a petition filed by former Odisha DGP Prakash Mishra seeking quashing of the FIR slapped against him by the state Vigilance department,  Justice SC Parija also issued notices to Odisha government and the Union government to file replies to Mishra’s contention that he was being unduly victimised by the state government.

The court also called for all the relevant records in the case filed by the Vigilance.

The court passed the order after hearing Mishra’s counsels –  senior Supreme Court lawyer Amal Kumar Ganguly, senior High Court lawyer Sanjit Mohanty and Bibhu Prasad Das. The Union government, Odisha government and the state Vigilance department were represented by the additional solicitor general Anup Kumar Bose, senior government advocate Ramakant Mohapatra and senior lawyer SK Mund respectively.

The case has been posted to October 29.

Mishra, a 1977-batch officer, who is presently posted as the special secretary, Internal Security, Government of India, was the chairman-cum-managing-director of OPHWC between 2006 and 2009, in the rank of additional DGP.

On September 20, days after he went on Central deputation to New Delhi despite desperate efforts by the state government to block his way, the Bhubaneswar vigilance division on September 20 had registered a case against him under section 13(2) and 13(1)(d) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and section 409 and 120-B of Indian Penal Code alleging that advance payment of Rs 59 crore was given to some steel and cement suppliers in 2009 against existing rules.

Mishra had then hit back accusing the Naveen Patnaik government of vendetta and sought to know why the state government had invited him to become the DGP of the state in 2012, if there were such serious allegations against him.

The state government’s move had met with widespread condemnation and was seen as a move to scuttle his prospects as the next CBI chief.

Mishra is one of the frontrunners for the top CBI post.