Suspended inspector deposes before probe panel

Staff Reporter

BHUBANESWAR: Suspended police inspector Satish Padhi, who alleged that former Ganjam district collector had links with liquor mafia, submitted `proofs' obtained under Right to Information to substantiate his allegations before Justice P.K. Patro Commission probing the Ganjam hooch tragedies of 2006 here on Monday.

Mr. Padhi along with former Ganjam Excise Superintendent S. K. Das, who was also suspended after the liquor tragedy, deposed before the commission here.

Call details of mobile numbers of Sarat Singh, brother of former Ganjam collector Sanjay Singh, and the main accused Surya Sahoo, was submitted to the Commission.

Hrushikesh Rath, counsel for Padhi, said call details showed several conversations between the accused and Sarat Singh during the two back-to-back hooch tragedies. Even on April 23 last, when the Golabandh hooch tragedy took place, the two had talked twice, he alleged.

Another `proof' brought under RTI explained that the then district collector did not act upon an official communiqué from Ganjam Superintendent of Police that sought clearance to book six notorious criminals, including Surya Sahoo under National Security Act, Mr. Rath said.

Deposing before the commission, Mr Das said he had tried his best to augment revenue generation during his short stint and conducted many raids. But illegal liquor trade that existed on the ground level could be the main reason behind the tragedy, he said.

The judicial commission, which was constituted to investigate into the liquor tragedies that claimed 35 lives in March and April last year, would continue the hearing on Tuesday.

Thirty-six persons had filed affidavits before the judicial commission. Thirty-four of them had appeared before it in its three hearings in Chhatrapur and Berhampur. Mr Padhi was the last witness to be heard.

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