Odisha: BJD MLA Prafulla Samal Appears Before ED In Engineering College Funds Misappropriation Case

OB Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Former Minister and senior Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MLA Prafulla Samal on Wednesday deposed before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Odisha capital.

The agency had summoned Samal and his son Prayas Kanti in connection with alleged financial irregularities at Barapada Engineering College in Bhadrak. While Prayas Kanti, who used to serve as the college president, is accused of swindling college funds to buy properties and high-end vehicles in Bhubaneswar, ED strongly suspects his MLA father’s link in the irregularities. They were asked to appear with all the relevant documents.

Prafulla, presently an MLA from Bhandaripokhari in Bhadrak district, was a Cabinet minister in the Naveen Patnaik government.

On February 15, the ED conducted searches at 10 different locations in Bhadrak and Bhubaneswar as part of their ongoing inquiry under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The case can be traced back to a First Information Report (FIR) filed by the Odisha Police in 2016 and the investigation was initiated under various Sections of the IPC and the Explosive Substances Act.

According to the central agency, Prayas Kanti, along with BSET secretary Manoj Kumar Goswami and others, were allegedly involved in misappropriating the society funds through acts of “forgery and deceit”.

“Prayaskanti Samal and his associates purportedly siphoned off crores of rupees through various financial irregularities. They are also alleged to have fraudulently diverted funds and assets, belonging to BSET, for personal gain, utilising forged and fabricated documentation,” the ED said in a statement.

During the search operations, Rs 9 lakh cash along with a Toyota Fortuner SUV valued at Rs 40 lakh were seized. The agency also confiscated several “incriminating” documents, including undated cheques, land agreements, and digital devices, from multiple premises.

Briefing reporters at his Bhadrak residence, 76-year-old legislator had earlier described the ED action as vindictive and politically motivated.

These raids and Tuesday’s 12-hour bandh at Barapada by Barapada Vikash Manch, seeking action against the legislator, have cast a shadow on the fate of Samal, who has been elected to the Assembly six times since 1990, ahead of the elections.

OB Bureau

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