Odisha Lokayukta Quashes Complaint Against OPOLFED GM

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Lokayukta has quashed a complaint on bribery against the general manager of Odisha State Poultry Products Cooperative Marketing Federation (OPOLFED).

The court gave the order after hearing a petition filed by one Bishnu Mohan Rath.

The petitioner told the Lokayukta that OPOLFED was founded by the state government to facilitate the local poultry farmers by selling their products like dressed chicken and eggs from booths (sale counter) to be located at different places for which the government has allotted land to the Federation agents for opening of the booths.

However, he alleged that while OPOLFED agents are told to sell only dressed chicken and eggs, one OPOLFED agent M Kesab Rao, who has been allotted a booth at Master Canteen square in Bhubaneswar, is selling biryani and fast food items instead of selling dressed chicken and eggs. He also accused Rao of  paying huge amount of money as illegal gratification to the OPOLFED general manager Bimal Kumar Mohapatra which warrants an inquiry and appropriate action against the general manager and OPOLFED agent.

In his reply, Mohapatra said OPOLFED in a notice on February 13, 2015, has asked all the booth agents not to use OPOLFED logo if they are selling food items other than OPOLFED products.

In his reply, Kesab Rao has denied illegal use of the booth and favouritism shown towards him by Mohapatra on account of monetary consideration. He said since the question of his right to sell other food items under the license issued to him by Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) is sub judice before the High Court, no coercive action can be taken against him.

The Lokayukta, after hearing the petition of the complainant and the counter of the opposite parties observed that the agreement between the Managing Director, OPOLFED and the beneficiaries goes to show that the beneficiaries shall obtain health, trade and food license from local authorities for the sale of eggs, poultry meat and other products of OPOLFED.

But, as the issue of whether the booth beneficiaries are competent to sell fast food from their respective booths is under consideration by the High Court, the Lokayukta does not think it proper to render any opinion on the same.

On the allegation of corruption, as alleged by the complainant against Mohapatra, the Lokayukta said the former receiving gratification and tacitly granted permission to Kesab Rao to sell fast food from his booth has in no manner been substantiated by the complainant. Besides, there is absolutely no material to record a prima facie satisfaction that Mohapatra has allowed Rao for selling fast food from his booth for his wrongful gain.

The Lokayukta also pointed out that as 34 booth beneficiaries of OPOLFED have approached the High Court for selling fast food from their respective booths, it shows that all the booth owners are resorting to the same practice which nullifies the allegation of gratification being paid by Rao to Mohapatra for carrying such business from his booth.

Hence, the complaint being devoid of any merit is closed and filed, the Lokayukta maintained.

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