Ex-MLA Sanjeev Pradhan arrested for ‘fraud’

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Deogarh/ Bhubaneswar: Former legislator Sanjeev Kumar Pradhan was arrested on Tuesday by the economic offences wing (EOW) of state crime branch on charges of defrauding land oustees of Rengali Multi Purpose Project of Rs 27 lakh.
Pradhan, who was the BJD MLA of Deogarh from 2009 to 2014, was apprehended based on a case filed by one Rama Chandra Gouda in 2014. According to a EOW release, Pradhan has been booked under sections 420 (cheating), 406 (criminal breach of trust), 465 (forgery), 467 (forgery of document), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC for allegedly misappropriating money meant to compensate one Madhusudan Garnayak and his brother Siba Prasad Garnayak, who had engaged Pradhan as their lawyer.
In 2016, the regional party suspended Pradhan. His arrest in the case has raised eyebrows as political circles are agog with speculation about it being fallout of internal BJD wrangling.

Former BJD MLA of Deogarh Sanjeev Kumar Pradhan

In 1983, the state government acquired land in Bhatsingh village for the project and awarded compensation amount to the oustees. The Garnayaks hired Pradhan as their lawyer to file a case in the civil court for fair and reasonable value of their acquired land. However, Pradhan misappropriated a sum of Rs 27,01,848 by submitting fake and forged legal heir certificates in the name of Madhusudan and Siba, the release said.
The EOW will forward the former MLA to the SDJM Court on Wednesday.
Earlier, Land acquisition, Rehabilitation & Resettlement officer of the project Subash Chandra Sahoo was arrested in connection with the case on June 22, 2015. Further investigation into the alleged embezzlement is on, the release added.

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