Odisha chit fund scam: Civil society protests slowdown in CBI probe 

Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 5:

Civil Society groups of Odisha took to the streets on Wednesday and organized a mass demonstration in front of the CBI office in Bhubaneswar against the slow pace of the probe into the chit fund scam.

Pic: Biswaranjan Mishra
Pic: Biswaranjan Mishra

They also wrote to the Prime Minister of India urging him not to dilute the investigation of the scam. They alleged the probe had been derailed due to political pressure from the BJP-led Central Government in collusion with the BJD government in the state for their narrow  political interests.

The activists chanted slogans against Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and BJP led Central Government and accused both the political parties of halting the CBI inquiry into Chit Fund in the state.

“Public suspicion is growing with each passing day that the CBI has been pressurized to stop investigation at the instance of Narendra Modi, Prime Minister for his narrow political agenda.  Though there is authentic proof against Justice LK Mohapatra, CBI has not arrested him. Senior IAS officer Anu Garg, now part of the PMO, has not been quetsioned despite the fact that her name appeared prominently in the diary of Subhankar Nayak, the fixer arrested by the CBI. Though the CBI did interrogate Saroj Sahoo, an employee of Naveen Niwas, the residence of Naveen Patnaik and seized many documents, it has not arrested him. CBI has clearly been prevented from taking steps against the people whose names figured in the diary,” said Jayant Das, RTI activist who was part of the protest.

The civil society groups pointed out that the investigation had slowed down considerably and was almost defunct in Odisha these days following the revelation of big names in the scam.

“It is obvious that some kind of a deal has been struck by those who rule the state and those who rule in the country.” said veteran journalist Rabi Das.

The agitators later submitted a memorandum addressed to Prime Minister of India and Director of CBI through the CBI regional office with a request to allow the agency to carry out its investigation independently and to arrest the real culprits including Naveen Patnaik.

It may be mentioned that, after a long drawn legal battle and a massive public outcry, the Supreme Court had ordered a CBI inquiry into  the chit fund scam on May 9, 2014.

Following the Supreme Court order, the CBI had arrested many powerful politiinas inclusing MLAs, MPs and some important influential people like media tycoons involved in the multi-crore chit fund scam in the preliminary stage.

Expectations from CBI shot sky high following the interrogation or Saroj Sahu, a close aide of Naveen Patnaik and arrest of Subhankar Nayak, a Chit Fund broker who had excellent connection with numbers of IAS and IPS officers among others.


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