New CBI boss M Nageswara Rao’s record blemished in Odisha

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Bhubaneswar: M Nageswara Rao, who has taken interim charge of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in a post-midnight government order, was once found guilty by Crime Branch for implicating a person in a false case in Mayurbhanj.

According to reports, before taking charge of Mayurbhanj Superintendent of Police, the 1986-batch Odisha cadre IPS officer Rao and a resident of Telengana’s Warrangal was posted as Talcher SDPO.

A Manipur cadre IPS officer Ratnakar Baral, who was on an inter-state deputation and served as Dhenkanal SP at that time, had expressed displeasure over the working procedure of Rao.

However, after Rao took charge as Mayurbhanj SP on July 28, 1991, he allegedly tried to settle scores with Baral over the issue. In order to vent his anger, Rao had falsely implicated Baral’s brother-in-law Soumyaranjan Das, a resident of Baripada’s Deula Sahi, in a ganja smuggling case.

Sources said the then Sarad police station IIC, on directions of Rao, tactfully planted ganja stashed packets in Baral’s in-laws house. Later, the police raided the house, seized the contraband packets and arrested Baral’s brother-in-law Soumyarup, accusing him of smuggling ganja.

After booking Soumyarup in the false case police produced him before the court. But the court found that the accused was falsely implicated in the case and expressing dismay over the police, warned the then Mayurbhanj SP Rao, not to repeat such act in future.

The Odisha government took the matter seriously and ordered a Crime Branch probe into the incident. Then Odisha Chief Minister Biju Patnaik has ordered the CB probe, which held Rao guilty in the case.

If sources are to be believed, when the government changed in 1995 and Janaki Ballabh Patnaik became the Chief Minister of Odisha, Rao took help of a powerful politician Basant Biswal and convinced the Odisha CM to stop the actions recommended against him in the CB inquiry.

Rao was then transferred as Jagatsinghpur SP, where he allegedly help Basant Biswal’s son Ranjib Biswal, and a Congress candidate to win the elections from Jagatsinghpur constituency. The undue favour of the top police official was quite discussed in the political sphere at that time.

Sources said, Rao the present interim director of CBI, was also involved in many such controversial cases.

M Nageswara Rao, was also accused of misappropriating funds during his tenure in the Odisha Fire Department. In 2016, Rao had allegedly changed the uniform of the fire personnel and had allegedly embezzled a huge amount of money in purchasing the uniforms without even consulting the Home Department.

Later, when senior IPS officer Binay Behera took charge of the Odisha Fire and Home Guard department, he ordered a probe in this regard.

Moreover, Rao has been accused of making derogatory remarks on minority community during a programme in Berhampur in December 10, 1998. A PIL was also filed in the Orissa High Court in this regard, said CPI (M) general secretary Alikishore Patnaik, who was then CPI (M) secretary of Ganjam district.

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