Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
An innocent man who is to retire this month from a very low paid government job under the malaria eradication wing is going to be shattered unless the Health Minister or the Chief Minister intervenes to save him from bureaucratic barbarism.
One Abhaya Kar, whose mother was working in Ramachandrapur Primary Health Centre had borrowed Rs. 30/- from Kanhu Charan Panda, a lab technician of that PHC in 1995. Panda had given him the money as he knew him as the son of a colleague. But Kar did not return him the money. On persistent request, he had returned only five rupees and promised to pay the rest Rs.25 the next day. But, because he had felt embarrassed upon being pressed to pay, he decided to teach him a lesion while repaying the borrowed money.
Accordingly he cooked up a plan. He obtained a prescription for blood test from a Doctor and prompted Panda to draw the sample for the test while telling him that he would take the report the next day. Then he went to vigilance S.P. of Sambalpur and informed him that, for a pathological test, Panda was demanding him bribe of Rs.30/- out of which he has already paid Rs.5/- and is to pay Rs.25/- the next day in order to obtain the report.
A trap was laid. The vigilance police gave Kar Rs.25/- after sprinkling phenolphthalein powder on the Notes, which he gave to Panda on 5.5.1995 saying that he was repaying the borrowed money. There was nothing for Panda to disbelieve. But as he put the money in his pocket, the vigilance squad pounced upon him and recovered from his pocket the tainted Notes. He was arrested on charges of bribe and forwarded to the vigilance court and under direction from the vigilance police, he was put under suspension.
Prosecution commenced against him in the Court of Special Judge (Vigilance) at Cuttack in T.R. Case No. 293-2007 arising out of Sambalpur Vig. P. S. Case No. 09 of 1995.
The vigilance court finally determined that the case against Panda was a false case inasmuch as on the day of occurrence, i.e. 5.5.1995 Kar had refunded the loan amount which he had earlier taken from Panda. On this determination, the Court held Panda “not guilty” and acquitted him from the charges in its judgment delivered on 9.2.2012. Neither the State nor the complainant has preferred any appeal against the judgment.
But now when Panda is going to retire from his job on reaching the age of superannuation, and his suspension period needs regularization, the health directorate is eager to subject him to disciplinary proceedings for the same “crime” with retrospective effect from 5.5.1995!
The man had not committed any crime. He had helped the son of a colleague with a sum of Rs.30/-only at the time of his need. The man he had helped betrayed him by implicating him in a false vigilance case. This treachery was bare in course of hearing of the case and the court, in recognizing the reality, declared him “not Guilty of the offense” he was charged with and rewarded his humanitarianism by acquitting of all charges.
Yet, bureaucratic barbarism is set to shatter his retired life. If bureaucracy is not restrained from its design to clamp disciplinary proceedings on him for the offense he has not committed, it would be impossible for him to get his pension and other retirement benefits.
One of my readers from Dhenkanal who belongs to Bhapur, the village of my close relation late lamented Hadibandhu Pattanayak, which is adjacent to Koilipingi, the village of Panda, had sent me a letter depicting a detail picture of Panda’s case. I have verified the veracity of what he has informed me. This report is based on that verification and I am sure, unless political leadership intervenes, the innocent poor man is going to perish in his post retirement life under heartless barbarism of bureaucracy.
Will the Health Minister please intervene?