Chit Fund Felony: Artha Tattwa Facilitator Rewarded with Promotion and Posting of Choice

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Who is the Godfather of Smt. Gayatri Patnaik, now Deputy Registrar of Cooperative Societies-cum-MD, Orissa State Cooperative Handicrafts Corporation Ltd, is a must for the CBI to find out, as otherwise root of the felony may not be reached at.

Smt. Patnaik was Assistant Registrar of Cooperative Societies when all administrative norms and practices were contravened by her in registering the cooperative gimmick of Pradeep Sethy – the Artha Tattwa Multipurpose Co-op. Society Ltd on 3 November 2010, within 3 days of receipt of his application.

She has been rewarded with promotions and postings of her choice, keeping inconsequential the departmental proceeding instituted against her for serious offenses located through an inquiry.

Government of Orissa in the department of Cooperation had asked B.B.Mishra, DD (Statistics), Office of the Registrar of Cooperative Societies, Orissa, vide Letter No. 1026 dt.27 January 2011, to inquire into allegations leveled against her by leading members of Capital Coop. Housing Society Ltd.

The Inquiry Officer found that, Ms. Patnaik had captured the said Society’s CEO post by herself, “by utilizing one administrative order of the Govt. having no relevance to any authority under OCS Act and Rule 1962 and 1965 respectively”.

While holding this self-acquisition of the post of CEO absolutely illegal, the IO observed that “Smt Gayatri Patnaik should have waited for formal acceptance of her joining report by the management of the Cooperative Society before starting work including handling of cash and assets of the Society”.

Holding that, “A person acting as chief executive of the cooperative society without express permission of the management amounts to impersonation and her action can be very well termed as trespassing”, the IO declared, “all action done by Smt. Gayatri Patnaik are ultra vires in law unless until approved by the management of the Capital Housing Ltd”.

She was found to have transferred the Society’s funds to another organization “surreptitiously” allowing the chief executive thereof to operate it. This is “quite illegal and breach of trust” and “provision of the by-law (of the Society) has been seriously flouted by Smt. G. Patnaik in this case”, the IO has reported.

The report is full of adverse remarks on Smt. Patnaik. It was submitted on 2 November 2011.

It gathered dust in the Government for about one and half years. On 10 April 2013, vide order No. 3034/Coop, the Commissioner-cum-Secretary to the Government in the department of Cooperation, suspended her “with immediate effect” for “acts of omission and commissions during her incumbency as ARCS, Bhubaneswar”.

But the charges against her were suppressed and under signature of an Undersecretary, in the name of the Governor, which is a normal practice, she was “reinstated in Government service” on 23 September 2013 under Notification No. 7814/Coop.

On reinstatement, she was placed under the department of Hand-looms, Textiles and Handicrafts “for posting as DRCS (Industries) in the Directorate of Handicrafts”.

After she was thus rewarded with reinstatement and placed in a very comfortable post, as a matter of formality, she was served with a charge sheet on 30 October 2013. That charge sheet is not yet acted upon and she has been given extra lucrative assignment as MD of Orissa State Cooperative Handicrafts Corporation Ltd (Utkalika).

Had she not been in alliance with Pradeep Sethy in registering the Artha Tattwa Multipurpose Co-op. Society Ltd in total disregard to departmental norms in 2010, she would have faced prosecution for the serious offenses enumerated in the Inquiry Report and memorandum of charges the Government had asked her to meet.

Who is her godfather in the Government that has kept the disciplinary proceeding instituted against her inconsequential till date should be found out by CBI that has been investigating into Artha Tattwa’s chit fund felony.

It is worth mention that the General Secretary of All Orissa Primary Handicrafts Co-op. Societies Presidents and Artisans Association, in a letter to the Chief Minister written on 19 October 2014, has raised severe allegations against Smt. Gayatri Patnaik .

But, there is no action on the same as yet.

The mystery of CM’s silence on the Association’s letter is intriguing.

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