Customs officials probing the seizure of cocaine worth over Rs 220 crore from a Denmark-bound cargo ship at Paradip Port on 1 December are in a tizzy as the investigators are finding it tough to elicit vital international drug cartel links in the case because of the language barrier.
Relatives of an administrative officer threw sealed packets full of currency notes of Rs 500 denomination on a neighbour’s terrace in an attempt to hide the ill-gotten money and thwart a raid by Odisha’s anti-corruption vigilance department on Friday.
Prasanta Kumar Rout posted as Additional Sub Collector in Nabarangpur district has come under the vigilance scanner with the recovery of the cash and simultaneous house searches are currently being conducted by Odisha Vigilance on the strength of search warrant issued by Special Judge, Vigilance, Sundargarh at nine locations including his residential house in Bhubaneswar, said vigilance officials.
The bundles of notes worth around Rs 2 crore were later recovered from the neighbour’s house at Kanan Vihar in Bhubaneswar. The notes’ counting machines have been deployed to ascertain the exact amount of the seized cash. This is the second highest unaccounted cash recovery from corrupt government employees in the State. Earlier last year. Rs 3.41 crore unaccounted cash was seized from Kartik Roul, Assistant Engineer, minor irrigation division in Bhanjanagar
The vigilance sleuths who were about to make their way into the house to conduct raids sighted the throwing of several packets on the terrace of the neighbour’s house. Smelling foul play, they conducted a search to the neighbouring house and stumbled upon packets and a suitcase full of currency notes. Similar incident of cash being thrown to a neighbour’s house was reported in November 2021 during a raid at the house of Odisha Police Housing and Welfare Corporation’s (OPHWC) the then deputy manager, Pratap Samal. Rs 20 lakh cash was seized then from the neighbour’s house, they added.
Simultaneous raids currently underway at multiple locations. As many as nine teams of Odisha Vigilance are engaged in search operation, they concluded.