BHUBANESWAR: Culture Minister Surya Narayan Patro has ordered an inquiry into the alleged affidavit filed by the Government before the High Court submitting that the Orissa Sangeet Natak Academy president and Odissi exponent Gangadhar Pradhan is a Padma Shree awardee.

Mr. Patro has directed Culture Secretary Gopinath Mohanty to inquire into the issue and submit his report within a week.

In an affidavit before the Orissa High Court, the deputy secretary to the government of Orissa in culture department Udayanath Nayak has submitted an affidavit before the High Court on January 8 last that the newly-appointed president of Orissa Sangeet Natak Akademi (OSNA) is a `Padma Shree awardee.' The department's `misleading' submission to the apex court of the State has put the government in a tight spot.

Former OSNA president Dhirendra Nath Patnaik had filed a writ petition in the court challenging the decision of the culture department in removing him `unconstitutionally and unceremoniously' from the post before the completion of his term of office.

Mr. Patnaik was invited to hold the post for two years by the then culture minister Damodar Rout but was removed by his successor and the present Culture Minister Surya Narayan Patro on September 11, 2006 while Mr. Patnaik was due to retire on May 30, 2007. While Mr. Patnaik sought shelter of the court of law that asked the culture department to explain, the department, in its submission, mentioned that Mr. Gangadhar Pradhan was `found most suitable for the post being an eminent dancer and Padma Shree awardee' to succeed Mr. Pattnaik.

When contacted, Mr. Pradhan confirmed that he was not a Padma Shree awardee nor his bio-data was sought by the department.