Former Odisha BJD leader and Gopalpur MLA Pradeep Panigrahi should be released on bail on Sunday after spending more than 7 months in jail in a case of cheating youths of a job at Tata Motors. The 56-year-old leader was granted bail by the Odisha High Court on Friday in a Tata Motors job fraud case registered at Golanthara police station in Ganjam district. The court had earlier granted bail in six similar cases registered against him.
Pradeep Panigrahi was detained by the state CID for accepting bribes from unemployed youths with false promises of employment at Tata Motors after which he was lodged in jail since December 3. Three cases have been registered against Panigrahi at Golanthara police station, two at Baidyanathpur police station in Ganjam district and one in Crime Branch of Odisha. Panigrahi 69 for all cases. 45 lakh, out of which 47 for cases registered in CID. 45 lakhs and Rs.6 lakhs for cases registered at Baidyanathpur police station.
Panigrahi accused and expelled from party: It has been revealed that Panigrahi was also accused of connivance with IFS officer Abhay Pathak and his son Akash who were involved in a corruption case. In fact, Panigrahi's daughter was scheduled to get married to Akash at a palace hotel in Udaipur in December last year. Police said Panigrahi had also taken money from Akash Pathak, son of former IFS officer Abhay Pathak, who was given compulsory retirement last month on charges of corruption.
Panigrahi had taken care of CM Naveen Patnaik's assembly constituency Hinjili in Ganjam district for nearly a decade. He was first elected to the Odisha Assembly from Gopalpur constituency in 2009, a seat in which he had won 3 consecutive terms. In 2014, Patnaik made him minister of the departments of rural development, higher education and science and technology. He was removed from the cabinet in 2017, but was still considered a powerful leader.
Panigrahi has been given the post of Ganjam District President of BJD in 2015 even after having 3 senior Cabinet Ministers in the district. He was given charge of 12 of the 15 assembly segments of Ganjam district before the 2019 assembly elections. But he soon walked out of favour for his anti-people work. He was expelled from the party by CM Naveen Patnaik after being taken into custody.