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Vigilance summons ex Odisha DGP to appear on Dec 4

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Nov 24:

As the race for the post of CBI director hots up, the state vigilance has issued summons to former Odisha DGP Prakash Mishra asking him to appear before it on December 4 in connection with the case against him for alleged irregularities during the period he was the CMD of Odisha Police Housing and Welfare Corporation (OPHWC).

Prakash-Mishra

Mishra has been summoned to appear before DSP M Radhakrsihna at the vigilance directorate in Cuttack at 11 am on December 4, official sources said. The summons has been served to Mishra through Union Home secretary Anil Goswami, the sources said.

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 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 in violation of existing rules.

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.

Mishra had responded by filing a petition in the High Court accusing the government of mala fide and seeking quashing of the FIR against him. The state government’s move was designed to prevent him from becoming the CBI Director, Mishra had alleged in the petition.

In statements given the media after the state government move,, Mishra had hit back accusing the Naveen Patnaik government of ‘vendetta’ and wondering how 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.

Sources said the Vigilance move to ask the ex-DGP to appear before it is only a pretext to get him to Odisha and arrest him in connection with a new case that has been cooked up by a small group of IPS officers ‘loyal to the throne’.

A senior IPS officer known to have been a close aide of  the Chief Minister has been entrusted with the task of preparing the grounds to arrest Mishra and ensure he is out if reckoning for the post of CBI  director.
The sources said, a Delhi- based senior IPS officer, who is also an aspirant for the top post, is reportedly part of the design to scuttle Mishra’s chances of occupying the chair and has been in close touch with his ‘friends’ in the Odisha IPS circle.
” The Vigilance slapped a case even without questioning him in the matter. Now the High Court has already taken up the petition filed by Mishra and the Vigilance department has so far failed to produce the documents and papers to substantiate its charges before the court. In fact it has been seeking more time to do so. Therefore issuing summons to Mishra for his personal appearance at this stage in connection with the same case does not make sense and smacks of mala fide,” a senior High Court lawyer commented.
The timing of the summons strengthens suspicion that the vigilance move is prompted by mala fide. Msihra, it may be noted, has been summoned to appear before the vigilance on December 4, five days before the next date of hearing in the case in the High Court.
The High Court has already restrained the state government from taking any ‘coercive action’ against Mishra and ruled that the ongoing vigilance case would not affect his promotion.