Other States

Forest officer, son arrested for amassing disproportionate assets in Odisha

An Odisha cadre Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer, who was found to have amassed assets vastly disproportionate to his known sources of income, and his son, were arrested on Friday.

The officer, Abhay Kant Pathak, who was the State’s Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest- Plan, Programme and Afforestation, and his son, Akash Pathak, had been forwarded to the court, Superintendent of Police-Vigilance M. Radhakrishna said here.

Mr. Radhakrishna said that about ₹9.35 crore of cash had been deposited in the son’s account, but there had been no satisfactory answer as to the source of the cash.

Though the officer said the allegations were false, officials of the State Vigilance Directorate officials said they had “never come across the ownership of such massive property and lavish lifestyle by a government employee”.

The Directorate deployed 150 officials over the past three days to investigate properties owned by Mr. Pathak at several locations across India. The officer and his family members were found to have hired charter flights on multiple occasions.

“Charter flight bills worth nearly ₹3 crore, involving travel from and to cities like Pune, Bhubaneswar, Patna, Mumbai, Jamshedpur and Delhi have also been ascertained,” said the Vigilance Directorate. The officer had also toured Malaysia, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates and the Maldives.

Akash Pathak was to marry the daughter of a former minister in the Naveen Patnaik government on December 15.

Hotel bills of over ₹90 lakh at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai, and an advance booking amount of ₹20 lakh for the Taj Lake Palace Hotel in Udaipur had also been paid by Mr. Pathak’s family.

Cash deposits of about ₹9.35 crore have been ascertained Akash Pathak’s bank accounts, out of which about ₹8.4 crore was deposited — mostly through ATMs — at Bhubaneswar. During the course of the house search and the subsequent enquiry, cash of about ₹60 lakh was detected. Costly household articles and gold ornaments weighing 800 gm were also found. The Vigilance Department also unearthed documents relating to the purchase of gold ornaments worth ₹23 lakh.

The officer’s son was found to be renting a farmhouse in the Hill Town area of Pune for a rent of ₹5 lakh per month. Several luxury cars and motorcycles were found to have been registered in the officer’s son’s name, and the latter was also hiring costly vehicles. Three such vehicles were found to have been hired by him at the time of the search in Pune.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 9:51:28 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/forest-officer-son-arrested-for-amassing-disproportionate-assets-in-odisha/article33194989.ece

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