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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Jan 24:

The Orissa High Court today granted interim protection from arrest to Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan’s brother, Soumendra Kumar Pradhan in connection with the case registered against the latter by the Odisha Vigilance.

The court also directed the Vigilance to submit the case diary. The next hearing in the case will take place after 2 weeks, informed Soumendra’s counsel Dharanidhar Nayak.

Notably, Soumendra had moved the High Court seeking anticipatory bail in the case on January 16.

The Vigilance had earlier raided gas agency ‘Pradhan’s Gas Service’ at Handidhua in Talcher owned by Soumendra following complaints of black marketing and refilling of cooking gas by the agency.

The anti-corruption wing had then registered a case against him under sections 7 and 8 of Essential Commodities Act, 1955; section 9 (b) and 12 of Indian Explosives Act, 1884, sections 285, 420 and 120 (b) of IPC.

Basing on the prima facie evidence of several illegalities in respect of Pradhan’s Gas Service, a criminal case has been registered against Soumendra Kumar Pradhan, proprietor of the agency, Rasmikanta Mohapatra (manager), Nilu Sahu (godown in-charge) and Debraj Panda, a release of the state Vigilance had said.