Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 16:
A day after Vigilance sleuths registered case against Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan’s brother, Soumendra Kumar Pradhan, the latter today moved the Orissa High Court seeking anticipatory bail.
The members of the anti-corruption wing raided Pradhan Gas Service at Handidhua in Talcher on Saturday and today following complaints of black marketing and refilling of cooking gas by the agency.
As per a release by state Vigilance, joint surprise raids were conducted on December 31 last year, January 14 and today in 10 districts. As many as 14 gas agencies were raided during the said period to ascertain the allegations.
Basing on the prima facie evidence of several illegalities in respect of Pradhan 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.
The verification of gas stocks and scrutiny of register/documents undertaken today at 10 different gas agencies are continuing and appropriate legal action would be taken if any illegal activities are noticed, the release said.
Notably, cases have been registered against four including Soumendra 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.