Pradeep Maharathi Minister
BHUBANESWAR: Agriculture minister Pradeep Maharathy has joined the list of those, who allegedly grabbed government plots/quarters by misusing discretionary quota (DQ).
Government sources said the minister availed of an HIG duplex house at Dharma Vihar near Khandagiri from Odisha State Housing Board (OSHB) under DQ though he inherited landed property in the city. According to norms, those, who already have houses/plots, are not eligible to get government assets through DQ.
The sources even said Maharathy annexed extra land to the HIG duplex of 2,200 sq ft allotted to him and increased it to 2,553 sq ft by paying additional money to OSHB.
Maharathy denied the allegations. "I have not violated any norm. I will place my views before the taskforce constituted to probe DQ irregularities," the minister told the media here on Thursday.
The revelation might embarrass the ruling BJD, which is on the defensive after it came to light in July that Rajya Sabha member Kalpataru Das' family took multiple government properties. Amid uproar from various quarters, including from within the ruling party, the government was forced to constitute a three-member taskforce led by additional chief secretary (revenue) Taradatt to probe DQ allotments. In a related development, it has come to fore that at least 26 BDA employees' families availed of more than one government property through various schemes, in violation of norms.