Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jun 21:
The Odisha government’s Directorate of Factories and Boilers today confirmed that Motilal Gouda, the directorate’s assistant director was the main culprit behind the issuing of the fake gazette notification asking companies to get health check-up of their employees through select pathology labs.
Allegedly, Gouda had received over Rs one crore as kickbacks from empanelled pathology laboratories.
“Gouda had fraudulently prepared a gazette notification on his own with enabling provisions for recognizing laboratories. He had dispatched a list of these laboratories to some industrial units asking them to send their employees to these pathology laboratories for health checkups. He had inked an agreement with Nalco for Rs 63 lakh and was planning to sign another for Rs 1.6 crore with the Nava Ratna public sector unit. Crime Branch is currently investigating the case,” informed P C Das, director Directorate of Factories and Boilers under the Labour department.
On the allegation of Gouda receiving a kickback of over Rs one crore, Das told reporters that he had no idea about that and it is being investigated by the Crime Branch.
“The matter came to light 10-15 days back. We came to know after the gazette notification was circulated by Nalco and some employees of the PSU had got their health checkups conducted,” he said.
“It was me who caught him. We had sealed his office room for inquiry purpose but he had broken open the seal in the morning, entered the room using a duplicate key and had allegedly taken away some documents. We have informed our higher-ups and very proceedings will begin against him,” Das added.
The Crime Branch, which launched a manhunt to arrest Gouda, registered a case against him on June 6 on the basis of a complaint by the directorate of factories and boilers, a unit of the Labour department.
Gouda was suspended on May 29 on charges of fabricating a government gazette and issuing a fake notification to 580 industrial houses to compulsorily send their employees for health check-ups to five pathological laboratories and clinics of his choice in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, and Talcher. Out of these five labs, two each is in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack while another one is in Talcher.
Though Gouda had issued the fake notification on October 16, 2015, having the empanelment list of five pathological laboratories, the state government mysteriously ignored his misdeed as he reportedly enjoyed blessings of senior government officials and political patronage. It is suspected that Gouda’s suspension was purposely delayed at the instance of the people in power and the case was handed over to the Crime Branch just a few days ago to allow Gouda go scot free.
Meanwhile, the Economic Offence Wing (EOW) of the Crime Branch today arrested three individuals in connection with the fraud and is interrogating them, till reports last came in. Among those arrested are two pathology lab proprietors and a middleman.
Moreover, the EOW this evening raided the official quarters of Gouda in Unit II area of the capital city in connection with the alleged Rs one crore kickback.
Notably, Gouda recently managed to get an interim protection from the Orissa High Court and is absconding.
Gouda had joined the Directorate of Factories and Boilers of the Labour department on deputation from the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation in 2010. His job was to monitor the health of employees working in hazardous industries in the state. It was his duty to engage doctors registered with the state government and medical association to certify the health condition of the employees of different industries.
Interestingly, Gouda had joined the Labour department while his name had appeared in a notification issued by the Health department on November 17, 2015, listing 408 doctors as absconders and were removed from government service for remaining absent from duty for a long period unauthorisedly and willfully.