Villagers including a large number of women squatted on an indefinite dharna in front former sarpanch and prominent anti-Posco leader Sisir Mohapatra on Wednesday.

They also observed a ‘Dhinkia Bandh’ alleging that Mohapatra had usurped lakhs of rupees meant for the panchayat. The agitators demanded stern action against him.

The villagers alleged that Mohapatra who had led the anti-Posco movement had made money by extorting dredging firms and also from steel majors who did not want Posco to be set up in the region.

Two dredging firms had been engaged a decade ago for dredging and reclamation activities for levelling and grading of oil refinery expansion of IOCL.

The National Institute of Oceanography had suggested that dredging should be done eight km from the Jatadhar river mouth coastline. The suggestive measures which were given by the NIO were flouted by these two dredging corporations because they had bribed locals.

Mohapatra even favored a few contractors and ensured that they were awarded work under different projects, said the villagers. Lakhs of rupees were collected on the plea of development work and resistance to the Posco project.

Ignoring the local people, Mr Mohapatra had been misappropriated lakhs of rupees and had not been given single paisa for the development of panchayat and welfare of the people, alleged the villagers.

The villagers held a meeting on 9 February and said Mohapatra had taken Rs 15 lakh from different sources. Mohapatra had reportedly told them that he would return Rs 10 lakh but failed to do so. The villagers sought the intervention of the district collector and SP.

Villagers Babaji Samantray, Biranchi Samantray, Sahdev Ojha, Santosh Lenka and others have alleged that hundreds of people are struggling due to lodging false case on Posco violence issue so we have demanded to return this money to spend money on these false to release from bail but Mohapatra has not returned the money. on Wednesday, irate people demonstrated in Dhinkia.