Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Mar 27:
Odisha police today summoned deputy mayor of Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) Ajay Kumar Barik for interrogation in connection with collection of extortion money from private bus operators here.
Twin City Commissionerate Police quizzed Barik as part of its investigation into alleged collection of extortion money by Pramod Patra alias Bhuan from private bus operators at Badambadi bus stand.
“I extended full cooperation in the interrogation. I have provided all information to them,” CMC Deputy Mayor Ajay Kumar Barik said.
Barik, who is also secretary of Cuttack Private Bus Owners’ Association, was questioned a day after two private bus owners’ associations from Bhubaneswar lodged complaint against Bhuan at Badambadi police station.
Since Bhuan was the auction holder for the Badambadi bus stand, he was authorised to collect the parking fees from private buses operating to and from the bay. Instead of collecting the legitimate fee, his men used to extort money 10 to 20 times higher than the usual, the complainants alleged.
According to reports, extortion money was being collected from around 7000 buses including 230 buses of the Cuttack Private Bus Owners’ Association and some inter-state buse operators leaving Badambadi bus stand every day.
Notably, the Commissionerate Police have registered four cases against Bhuan, currently lodged in Choudwar Circle Jail.
Earlier on February 21, he was arrested on charges of extortion and his alleged links with the gangster siblings Sushant and Sushil Dhalsamanta.
A day prior to his arrest, a 20-member team led by Cuttack DCP Sanjeev Arora along with two platoons of police personnel raided Bhuan’s residence at Shankarpur and seized over Rs 76 lakh in cash and several incriminating documents during the search at his residence.