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ED questions veteran BJD leader over money laundering charges


Bhubaneswar, Feb 29 (IANS) The Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials on Wednesday questioned senior Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader and former Odisha minister Prafulla Samal over his alleged involvement in a case related to financial irregularities at a private engineering college in Bhadrak district. The enforcement agency had earlier issued summons against the Bhandaripokhari MLA, Samal, and his son Prayaskanti, directing them both to appear before it for questioning on the matter.The college — Barapada School of Engineering and Technology, is under the control of a registered society.Samal, a six-time MLA, was elected to the state assembly from Bhadrak for the first time in 1990 on a Janata Dal ticket.He also held several ministerial positions during his long political career.On Wednesday, he was grilled for more than eight hours by the officials at the ED office in the Nayapalli area of the city here. “Whatever questions the ED officials asked, I answered them all,” Samal told mediapersons after the marathon grilling.ED had earlier carried out searches at 10 locations in Bhadrak and Bhubaneswar on February 15 under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, (PMLA), 2002, on the charges of misappropriation of the registered society’s money by forgery and cheating.ED has been investigating the matter on the basis of FIRs registered by the Bhadrak Police.”ED investigation revealed that Prayaskanti Samal and others of Barapada School of Engineering and Technology (BSET) society were allegedly involved in misappropriation of society money by forgery and cheating. Prayaskanti Samal with other associates of have engaged in the embezzlement of crores of rupees by way of financial irregularities,” said an ED source.The central agency sleuths have seized Rs 9 lakh in cash along with a Toyota Fortuner car worth around Rs 40 lakh during the search operations.–IANSgyan/pgh

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