The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday said it has seized over Rs 133 crore belonging to former Odisha MLA Jitendra Nath Patnaik, popularly known as Jitu Patnaik, in connection with a case of money laundering. Between 2000 and 2014, Patnaik represented the Champua constituency in Odisha as an Independent MLA.
In a statement, the agency said, “ED has carried out search operations at various offices and residential premises of Jitendra Nath Patnaik and related entities at Joda, District — Keonjhar and Bhubaneswar — under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002. Patnaik has allegedly derived undue pecuniary advantage by way of illegal mining without necessary statutory approvals.”
During the searches, the ED claimed to have seized Rs 70 lakh in cash and 124 fixed deposits amounting to Rs 133.17 crore apart from “various incriminating documents and digital evidences”. The central agency also initiated a money laundering investigation on the basis of an FIR and chargesheet filed by the State Vigilance Cell of Odisha against Patnaik and others.
“As per the chargesheet filed by the State Vigilance, the accused indulged into illegal mining for a long period causing huge loss to the government exchequer which amounts to more than Rs 130 crore. Thus, ED has been able to recover almost the entire amount of proceeds of crime,” the statement said.