Charged with involvementin a corruption case

Odisha Jan Morcha secretary general Jagneswar Babu was arrested by the vigilance sleuths on Wednesday for his alleged involvement in a corruption case.

The Vigilance Department alleged that the Jan Morcha leader, who was president of the Odisha State Cooperative Bank (OSCB), Bhubaneswar, illegally sanctioned and disbursed different types of credit facilities amounting to Rs.36,18,00,070 to Messrs Bijayananda Cooperative Sugar Mills, Bolangir, in connivance with the loan committee members of the bank without adequate security and in a blatant violation of NABARD and bank guidelines.

The department further alleged that Babu was president of Messrs Bijayananda Sugar Mills, and therefore, as a borrower, should have rescued himself from the loan committee proceedings of the OSCB, notwithstanding the fact that he was the president of the OSCB.  Enquiry had revealed gross abuse of their official positions by Babu and Tushar Kanti Panda, Managing Director of OSCB, it further alleged.

It was found that Babu, who was the borrower as well as the lender, fraudulently diverted the bank’s funds, and though the loans were sanctioned and disbursed exclusively in the name of farmers, the loan amount was not even disbursed to the farmers and siphoned off, the vigilance officials alleged in a statement.

The loans were disbursed between November, 2009 and August, 2011 when Babu was an office-bearer in the ruling Biju Janata Dal.

While being produced in a local court, Babu, however, told presspersons that no irregularity had been committed in disbursal of loans to the sugar mill and he had arrested following his party president’s open invitation to the BJD legislators to join the Jan Morcha.

Reacting to the arrest of Babu, Jan Morcha president Pyarimohan Mohapatra said that the arrest of Babu was the result of a conspiracy hatched by the ruling party to defame their party.  

Alleging that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was acting in an arbitrary manner, Mr. Mohapatra said the Jan Morcha would oppose the action against Babu.