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Paradip Port bribery case: CBI arrests son of Odisha's influential industrialist

Odisha Paradip Port bribery case accused Charchit Mishra. (HT Photo (sourced)) (HT_PRINT)Premium
Odisha Paradip Port bribery case accused Charchit Mishra. (HT Photo (sourced)) (HT_PRINT)

  • CBI arrested Charchit Mishra, son of industrialist Mahimananda Mishra, in a bribery case involving a Paradip Port Trust officer
  • The arrest of Charchit has brought back the focus on Mahimananda Mishra, the 69-year-old businessman who was arrested in December 2016 for plotting the murder of an executive of rival cargo company

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The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Saturday arrested Charchit Mishra, son of industrialist Mahimananda Mishra, in a bribery case involving a Paradip Port Trust officer. The arrest has come after the officer also took into custody a senior engineer working at the port in Jagatsinghpur district and three others in connection with a 25 lakh bribery case.

They run a company called Orissa Stevedores Limited (OSL), which is said to be the biggest cargo company operating in the state. OSL looks after the unloading of cargo such as iron ore, coal, steel, etc., and has a near monopoly on the stevedoring operations at the Paradip port, the second biggest port in India in cargo traffic handling.

The anti-crime agency on Friday arrested Paradip Port's chief mechanical engineer Saroj Das and three others, including a middleman, over the engineer allegedly taking a bribe of 25 lakh to help OSL get undue benefit from the damage of a conveyor belt in the port.

Mishra and his elder son were interrogated for 20 hours yesterday while his younger son Charchit was made one of the accused in the case.

According to a report by Hindustan Times, Luivemint's sister publication, OSL damaged the conveyor belt at the port while unloading cargo and the cost of repairing/replacement of the conveyor belt ran into crores of rupees, CBI said.

But the chief mechanical engineer of the port conspired with Charchit, Sankha Subhra Mitra, the manager of Kolkata-based logistics company Karam Chand Thapar (KCT), and conduit Sumanta Rout to get it repaired with funds from the Paradip Port Trust. This caused a huge monetary advantage to private companies, and Das allegedly demanded 60 lakh as a bribe for the financial favour shown to OSL, the daily added.

The Paradip port handles various cargo such as crude oil, iron ore, thermal coal, chrome ore, coking coal, manganese ore, limestone, billets, finished steel, fertilizer, gypsum, and containers.

Apart from Charchit and the engineer of the port, the others arrested include Surya Narayan Sahoo, deputy GM (operations) of OSL, other than Rout and Mitra.

The CBI raided 15 premises of OSL and KCT in Paradip, Bhubaneswar, and Cuttack on Thursday, and recovered 41 lakh from the premises of the directors of the companies.

The arrest of Charchit has brought back the focus on Mahimananda Mishra, the 69-year-old businessman who was arrested in December 2016 for plotting the murder of an executive of rival cargo company Seaways Shipping. The Orissa high court granted him bail in May 2017. However, the Supreme Court in September 2018 set aside the high court order, noting that Mishra was an influential person in terms of both money and muscle power, and ordered that he should be taken into custody. But the industrialist was eventually granted bail by the high court in November 2019.

The trial, in that case, is nearing its end as 177 witnesses have so far been examined by a sessions court in Jagatsinghpur district, Hindustan Times reported.

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