Odisha chit fund scam: CBI grills MMTC official over Seashore’s gold buy

Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Oct 24:

The CBI team probing the multi-thousand crore chit fund scam in Odisha this evening grilled Mineral Metal Trading Corporation (MMTC) Bhubaneswar branch manager Gajendra Patra over the gold trading between the corporation and the chit fund company Seashore Group.

GOLDPatra was questioned for nearly one hour. He was specifically asked whether there was any illegallity involved in the purchase of  gold by the  Seashore Group from the MMTC, sources said.

MMTC, a public sector enterprise of the Government of India since 1963, is one of the leading international trading companies of the country.

After his interrogation, Patra told reporters that  he was asked by the CBI officials about the gold deal between MMTC and Seashore.

“I have handed over the documents related to the gold deal with Seashore. MMTC is a Central government PSU and every delivery of gold is made through proper channel and as per the laid out procedure. There is no question of any illegality from MMTC side with regard to the delivery of gold to the Seashore company, ” Patra said.

The MMTC  has delivered around 150 to 200 kg of gold to Seashore group following proper documentation during 2011-12, Patra said.

MMTC is a major global player in the minerals trade and is the single largest exporter of minerals from India. It is also the largest importer of gold and silver in the Indian sub continent, which handled about 174 MT of gold and 1165 MT of silver during 2011-12. MMTC supplies gold on loan and outright purchase basis to exporters, bullion dealers and jewellery manufacturers in India.

Notably, the economic offence wing of state Crime Branch on November 1 last year had recovered huge cache of gold and silver coins of the Seashore group from its bank lockers.

EOW sleuths had recovered 1.385 kg gold ingots and 1000 pieces of silver coins weighing 1 quintal net, kept in HDFC bank locker, Nayapalli branch.

On June 29 this year the Crime Branch had also recovered 1000 pieces of silver coins, each weighing 100 grams from AXIS bank locker.

After getting all documents from MMTC officials regarding Seashore’s gold deals, it is the time that CBI traces the rest of the gold stashed away by the Seashore Group inside the state and outside, observers said.

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