Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Sept 24:
In a move that smacks of vendetta, vindictiveness and mala fide, the Odisha government registered a vigilance case against former DGP Prakash Mishra , in a thinly-disguised effort to spoil his chances of occupying a top post at the Centre, informed sources in the state Home department today.
The director Vigilance KB Singh has confirmed the registration of the cases while talking to media persons today.
Sources said the case relates to the 2006-09 period when Mishra was the CMD of the State Police Housing Corporation and had made advance payments, amounting to Rs 59 crore to steel and cement manufacturers, as is the standard procedure.
The Vigilance inquiry has made out a case against him on the ground that the reconciliation of the the amount paid to the companies and the materials supplied by them against the payment, has not been made. In simple terms, it is an accounting exercise which should have been handled by his successors, who were appointed as the CMD Police Housing Corporation.
The process involves checking the stock registers maintained by officials in charge of the sites where construction work were undertaken.
The financial adviser of the Corporation has also been implicated in the case.
It is not clear, why Mishra’s successors failed to check the records during their tenure. Secondly, it is also not clear if the inquiry is only limited to the 2006-09 period when Mishra was the CMD of the housing corporation or includes the entire period of 2000-2014,
What makes the move appear suspect and mala fide is the fact that three years after Mishra was shifted from the post and went on Central deputation, he was invited by the state government to join as the DGP, Odisha, a post which he held for two full years. The question that begs an answer is, why the state government never followed up on the issue of ‘non-reconciliation of accounts’ over the last five years?
According to the source, the state government turned vindictive against Mishra after the last general elections, during which he, unlike some of his junior colleagues, chose not to align himself with the ruling Biju Janata Dal. The BJD government also took offence to his reported meetings with some senior BJP leaders in Delhi.
The BJD bosses were reportedly informed by their hardcore loyalists in the state police that Mishra was a serious contender for the post of CBI director and could spell trouble for them. That explains, why the state government withdrew its own letter of recommendation favouring a Central posting for him, sent to the Union Home ministry in December 2013.
Interestingly, when the state government withdrew its earlier recommendation for Mishra’s Central deputation on
May 28, 2014, the principal secretary, Home, had said, ” I am directed to say that in view of the severe shortage of IPS officers of DG level, it is not possible to spare the services of Sri Prakash Mishra for Central Deputation.”
While the letter cited ‘the severe shortage of DG level IPS officers in the state’ as the reason for cancelling his Central deputation, he was soon shunted out from the post of DGP to a non-police post of CMD, Odisha State Road Transport Corporation (OSRTC). The Home department’s letter also never made any reference to the vigilance inquiry that was presumably pending against him.
Clearly, the vigilance inquiry was an afterthought.
The vigilance inquiry against Mishra was initiated after removing him from the post of DGP in July 2014, two years after he held the position. This was done with the the obvious design to ensure he does not get a central posting. In fact, the source said, much before the inquiry began, the Union Home ministry was intimated about it. However, the Ministry was able to see through the game and put its foot down by insisting on his appointment as the Special Secretary, Internal Security at the Centre.
“After realising that all its moves to stall Mishra’s central deputation had failed, the big bosses in the Naveen Patnaik government are now after his blood because of an unfounded fear that if at all he becomes the CBI chief, he would re-open and pursue a number of graft cases against politicians and officers known to be part of his coterie,” a retired IPS officer told OST.
When contacted, the 1977-batch IPS officer, who is in Delhi, refused to comment saying he has no information about any vigilance case against him since he has not been questioned by anyone or intimated about any inquiry pending against him.