Bhubaneswar: A Special Vigilance Court Tuesday held Vinod Kumar, an IAS officer, along with five other accused guilty in the Rs 55 lakh Odisha Rural Housing Development Corporation (OHRDC) scam.
Currently, Vinod Kumar is an Officer on Special Duty (OSD) in the state Higher Education Department. Other convicts include Sanjaya Mohanty, Purna Chandra Das, Chittaranjan Mohanty, Ashis Nayak and Pradeep Rout. According to sources, the convicted bureaucrat has been facing trial in around 23 cases of corruption in the ORHDC case.
Aside from Sanjaya Mohanty no other convict was present in the court during the announcement of the judgment. The special court issued non-bailable warrants (NBWs) against all the convicts who were absent Tuesday.
The court awarded nine years’ rigorous imprisionment to Mohanty in addition to imposing a penalty of Rs 75,000. He has been allowed to pay the fine in three installments.
According to sources, in the wake of the devastating Super Cyclone in 1999, the Central Rural Development Department issued a grant through the Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) to construct houses for people whose houses were damaged in the natural calamity.
During his stint as the managing director of OHRDC in 2000, Vinod Kumar had illegally doled out loans from the coffers of the ORHDC to a non-government organization – Gramya Vikash Manch –allegedly for developing building centers.
Building materials like bricks, doors, iron grills and others were produced at the building centers for use in the construction of houses to rehabilitate the homeless in the cyclone-affected areas.
However, ORHDC flouted all the guidelines issued by the Central Rural Development Department regarding sanctioning of loans. As per the guidelines, the NGO was also supposed to deposit collateral security for availing the loan, but it did not.
OHRDC sanctioned a loan worth Rs 21.50 Lakh in a single phase in complete violation of the guidelines, which made it mandatory to release loan amounts in several phases after examining the progress of the work.
In 2000, when the chargesheet was submitted in the court, OHRDC also fudged the loan amount to Rs 55 lakh. Moreover, the money was sanctioned to the NGO even before the OHRDC received the grant fund from HUDCO. The court also noted that the authorities had not signed any agreement with the NGO.