After six months of close watch on him, on Wednesday, the Vigilance officials seized over two lakh cash from IAS officer and Managing Director of Odisha Small Industries Corporation (OSIC) Partha Sarathi Mishra.
The total amount was Rs 2,14,750, which was seized from his official vehicle at Cuttack.
Vigilance sleuths said they had specific information about Mishra collecting bribe from different persons. DG, Vigilance Dr RP Sharma said, there was a flurry of allegations against Mishra for the past several months and the Vigilance has been keeping a watch on the information.
As no party was willing to report the matter to the anti-corruption wing, the State Vigilance intercepted Mishra’s office vehicle bearing registration number OR-05-AU-4399 basing on a tip-off.
In the evening, acting on a tipoff that Mishra was about to leave for his residence by his Government vehicle after collecting the money from different persons, Vigilance officers of the Cuttack Division intercepted him at 6.40 pm in front of his office to ascertain the genuineness of the information.
They searched the car and in closed envelopes, the amount was found. On preliminary interrogation, he failed to explain the source of the money. “He could not explain why there was so much cash in his official vehicle and its source,” Dr Sharma said.
Immediately afterwards, the Vigilance launched a search operation in the office and residence of the IAS officer who pleaded innocence and said it was a conspiracy against him by some people.
“I was at a meeting of OSIC. Everyone here knows that after the meeting, I entered into my car. I don’t know who had kept the money inside my car. This is a conspiracy of some corrupt people in this office who are trying to get rid of me as I want to bring reforms in the functioning of OSIC,” he added.
Asked about the claim of the Vigilance that the cash seized from his official vehicle was a bribe, Mishra said how the Vigilance officials can claim this since they have not recovered the cash from his possession. I have not demanded money from no one. “I will take legal recourse to prove my innocence.
His government quarters at Unit-II in Bhubaneswar, residence at Bajrakabati Road in Cuttack and office chamber at Khapuria Chowk were being searched simultaneously till reports last came in.
Asked to name the persons from whom the OSIC MD has taken bribe, Additional SP, Vigilance Radhakrishnan said the investigation is underway. “We can tell you after the investigation is over,” he pointed out.
This is not the first time that Mishra has been in the news for wrong reasons. Three years back, the Ravenshaw University had shunted him out as Dean of Student Welfare after a PG student leveled charges of harassment against Mishra. He was, as an OAS officer, on deputation to the university then.