Petroleum minister’s brother booked for irregularities in gas agency

Cuttack: The Vigilance department has registered a case against Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan’s brother for irregularities in his gas agency ‘Pradhan Gas Service’, said Vigilance Director R.P. Sharma on Monday.

“Finding irregularities, one case has been registered against 4 persons including the proprietor Soumendra Kumar Pradhan. The Vigilance Cuttack Division has registered the case under Sections 7 and 8 Essential Commodity Act, Section 9B and 12 of Explosive Act 1894, Sections 285, 420 and 120B IPC,” said Sharma.

He said one DSP of Cuttack Vigilance Division has been handed over charge for further investigation into the matter.

The Vigilance sleauths conducted raids at several petrol pumps and gas agencies across the state, including the Pradhan Gas Service at Handidhuan in Talcher following allegation of adulteration and black-marketing.

The anti-corruption wing said 40 gas cylinders had been sold without authorisation to one Debaraj Panda of Talcher without any document. The vigilance officials said verification of records further revealed that the 40 cylinders had allegedly been issued in the name of different consumers of the agency by faking documents.

Later, Panda’s godown was searched and 83 gas cylinders of various companies, including the 40 cylinders from Pradhan Gas Service, were found.

Reacting to the development, Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan told reporters at New Delhi that nobody is above law which will take its course if any irregularity is found.

“Nobody is above law, whosoever he may be,” Pradhan said.

He said state governments as per law can conduct searches and such an action should be taken to its logical conclusion of either punishing the guilty or exonerating those not involved.

Meanwhile, the Vigilance sleuths continued their raids on petrol stations and gas agencies on Monday over reported theft and adulteration. The raids were conducted across many places in Odisha including Cuttack and Bhubaneswar.

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