Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 18:
The CBI today submitted its preliminary charge sheet against Ponzi firm Astha International Limited at the Special Chief Judicial Magistrate’s Court here in the Odisha capital.
The CBI in its 80-page charge sheet has named three officials of the Group- Odisha head of Astha International Subhranshu Lenka, Santosh Kisan Sapkale managing director of Astha International, Chandrasinh Chauhan Shivaji another director and two subsidiary companies of the Group, revealed sources in the CBI.
The accused have been charged with committing fraud to the tune of over Rs 66 crore. The CBI has submitted 142 documents along with the charge sheet and examined 80 witnesses, the sources said.
The central investigative agency has, however, kept its investigations open in the case, the sources added.
The CBI on Wednesday conducted simultaneous raids on the offices of the Astha International Ltd at more than 14 places in Odisha and Gujarat as well as Goa, Indore, and Jabalpur.
Lenka is currently lodged in the Jharpada Special Jail here since his arrest by the EOW of the Crime Branch on June 2013.
Notably, a designated court in Cuttack on September 23 in 2015 had directed the state government to sell the attached properties of chit fund company Astha International through public auction and distribute the sale proceeds among the depositors equitably.
In its order, the court told the government to confiscate about 16.39 acres of land, bank deposits, and movable properties – together worth Rs 7 crore – and distribute them among the depositors.
On April 19, 2014, the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Crime Branch (CB) had sought permission from the Finance department for attachment of movable and immovable assets of Astha International in order to liquidate it for a refund of money to duped investors as per the provisions of the Odisha Protection of Interests of Depositors (in Financial Establishments) Act, 2011.