Govt in a fix over Chitgate status report

OST Bureau

Bhubaneswar, Sep 24:

The Odisha government failed to meet the deadline of Monday fixed by the Supreme Court for filing of the status report on its investigations into the chit fund scam. The two-week time period allowed by the apex court to the state government for filing of the report ended Monday.

Informed sources said the apex court decision to seek an affidavit and a status report on the chit fund scam has put the state government in a tricky situation. Despite Crime Branch police burning midnight oil to complete its job of framing charge sheets, the end is nowhere to be seen. The government is unable to finalize either the affidavit or the status report. It seems to be in a quandary on what to write to the Supreme Court to avoid a CBI enquiry.

During a hearing on the chit fund scam on September 9, the state government’s counsel Gopal Subramaniam  had, in reply to a Supreme Court query, said that the state government had no objections to an investigation by the CBI. This appears to have put the state government in a fix.

Subramaniam had then contended that the state government desired to apprise the apex court of how sincerely and expediently it was handling the chit fund scam. The Supreme Court had then asked the state government to file its status report and affidavit within two weeks.

However, notwithstanding its counsel’s stand in the apex court, the state government is well aware that whatever measures it had taken in the wake of the chit fund scam were mere eyewash to hoodwink the people. In its affidavit, the government had informed the court about the formation of a corpus fund and institution of a judicial commission to enquire into the matter. In order to prove that additional measures are being taken, the government wrote to the Odisha High Court for establishment of four fast track courts for trial of chit fund scam cases.

The police are trying their best to frame charge sheets in the around 153 FIRs filed by people and include them in the status report to be filed in the Supreme Court. However, the government is apprehensive of failing to satisfy the Supreme Court as it itself is not convinced with the draft affidavit and status report it has compiled. It has therefore engaged selected police officers and lawyers to make its case appear convincing.

A senior police official admitted that the charge sheets are being prepared to satisfy the court. He however, cautioned that charge sheets based on half baked investigation will only provide enough leeway for the accused to escape from the clutches of the law.

In case of Artha Tatwa, a charge sheet was filed without a single line on investigations carried out against the involvement of politicians or influential persons. The charge sheet is even silent about the amount cheated and the number of people duped.



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