Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 12:
After a lull for a few weeks, the spotlight is back on ruling party leaders, including at least two ministers, in the ongoing CBI investigation into the multi-thousand crore chit fund scam in Odisha.
Based on an audio tape of a 39-minute long conversation between Pradeep Samantray, a senior executive of the Seashore group of companies, and Pinaka Mohanty, a social activist and human rights defender, CBI is now planning to interrogate the two ministers about their alleged involvement in the tainted company, sources said.
One of the two ministers has taken Rs 11 crore from Seashore, Samantray is heard telling Mohanty in the tape, a copy of which is with OST. “The Seashore chief has given at least Rs 550 crore to two BJD ministers, 45 MLAs of the ruling party and some well-known persons,” Samantray has said.
The CBI had sent the CD containing the conversation, which it had received on March 28, for verification of its authenticity to a Hyderabad-based laboratory. Tha agency raided the residence of Samantray at Bali Sahi village of Niali block in Cuttack district on April 8 after the test confirmed that the voices in the tape indeed belonged to Samantray and Mohanty.
During the raid at Samantray’s house, the CBI has reportedly seized his bank accounts, land documents, money receipts and cash from his possession. Samantrayy, it may be noted, was the Divisional Head of the Seashore Group and was in overall charge of the transport division.
Samantray claimed that the CBI would definitely question the two cabinet ministers while the chief minister would meet the same fate by 2017.
Asked whether the chief minister had personally received any money, Samantray said his personal assistant Saroj Sahu had received the money on his behalf.
The CBI, it may be noted, had seized a diary from the house of fixer Subhankar Nayak in which he had mentioned the names of a number of IPS officers, who had allegedly taken money from the Seashore. The CBI had later interrogated two senior IPS officers – Rajesh Kumar and Satish Gajbhiye – about their alleged links with the middleman who cut deals on behalf of the Seashore group.
Informing that the Seashore chief’ business empire was worth Rs 3, 000 crores, Samantray claimed he has proof of Dash’s Rs 20-crore business in Malaysia.
“Dash, who has taken the citizenship of Malaysia, is planning to move to that country after his release from jail,” he said.
But he is also heard in the tape saying Dash would not be spared by ‘Jubi’ and ‘Subodh’. It is not clear who exactly are these two men referred to by Samantray or why they would not spare the Seashore boss.