Odisha chit fund scam: CBI raids BJD leader Pravat Tripathy’s houses

Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Aug 16:

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is inquiring into the multi-thousand crore chit fund scam in Odisha, today conducted raids at two houses of BJD MLA Pravat Tripathy in connection with his alleged links with the Artha Tatwa group, which has duped thousands of depositors in the state.

Pravat Tripathy, BJD leader
Pravat Tripathy, BJD leader

According to sources, the investigating agency has got some important documents during its raids at Tripathy’s houses at Banki and at Kaligali in Cuttack.

The raid at his Cuttack house lasted about an hour during which the CBI seized some important documents that may help establish his role in the scam, sources said.

While confirming the raid at house, the Banki MLA did not reveal much about the raid during a telephonic conversation with this reporter.

It is to be noted that an audio tape containing an alleged conversation between the BJD MLA and AT Group chief Pradeep Sethy was broadcast in the media last year. The airing of the tape had created ripples in the state and the opposition parties had locked horns with the state government over the issue.

Meanwhile, the raids which began simultaneously at about 50 locations in the state early this morning were continuing when reports last came in. About 25 teams of the CBI are engaged in the raids.

Raids have also taken place at the Cuttack residence of Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) honorary secretary Asirbad Behera. Confirming the raid, Behera said the CBI team questioned him about OCA’s transactions with the AT group. “They wanted to know how much money we received from the AT group and for what. I told them that we had received a total of Rs 1 crore of which Rs 25 lakh was by way of advertisement and the rest Rs 75 lakh towards the development of the game,” he told a local television channel.

The Khordha residence of former Youth Congress leader Sambit Khuntia, who was a director in the tainted company was also raided. Khuntia has been taken into custody for interrogation, sources said.

The houses of Odisha Jan Morcha (OJM) leade Jagneswar Baboo in Bhubaneswar and Titlagarh were also raided today, the sources added. Among the other places raided in the state capital were the residence of Bikash Swain, owner of Suryaprabha newspaper, Manoj Das, mine owner and owner of Kamyab television channel, Satyabrata Dhir, builder and owner of Sparsh Hospital and Samir Lenka.

The premises of builders Sagar Das and Vineet Lalani and mine owner Ashish Dhal  are also likely to be raided later in the day, sources added.

IANS adds from New Delhi:

The CBI conducted searches at 56 locations, including the residence of a Biju Janata Dal (BJD) legislator in connection with Rs.10,000-crore Saradha chit fund scam, an official said Saturday.

“The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) conducted searches at seven locations in Mumbai, Behrampur, Baleswar, Bhadrak in Odisha, and 49 places at Bhubaneswar,” an offical said.

The official added that searches were also conducted at residence of BJD legislator Pravat Tripathy and five others.

The agency had conducted similar searches Aug 14 in 28 locations.

The agency has till now registered 44 cases in Odisha and four in West Bengal in the alleged chit fund scam on the directions of the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court had handed over the Saradha chit fund scam case to the CBI in May 2014 and asked the state governments to provide all logistical help to the agency.

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