Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Aug 20:
Stung by accusations that the commissionerate police showed unusual haste in closing the investigation into the affairs of the Artha Tatwa (AT) group, the biggest of the home grown players in the Odisha chit fund scam, commissioner Dr RP Sharma today claimed that the investigation was done in all sincerity and transparency.
Briefing media persons here today, Dr Sharma said each and every aspect of the AT group’s affair was investigated thoroughly and police was never under any pressure from politicians or other influential people.
“The police did not find any political link in this case. Police have inquired into the case in all sincerity and acted after obtaining sufficient evidence against the persons involved in the case,” he said.
The CP, however, refused to name the other seven persons against whom the commissionerate police have submitted two charge sheets in the additional district magistrate (ADM) court in Cuttack.
Quoting a CBI official, a section of the media has reported that CBI officials were amazed at the alacrity with which the commissionerate police wrapped up the investigation in the case and more so by the fact that it did not think it fit to raid AT’s offices in the state capital.
CBI raided the group’s head office on Sunday and seized 31 computer hard disks containing a wealth of information about the company’s links with politicians and other influential people, the reports quoted CBI officials as saying.
Acting on a complaint filed at Kharvela police station by an investor against the AT group last year, the police started investigation and arrested AT Group owner Pradip Sethi and six others Dr Sharma said, “We have not shown any haste in our investigation, which followed its due course. Since the charge sheet had to be filed within 60 days, we have investigated the case wisely and submitted the charge sheet against the accused in the ADM court in time to put them behind bars.”
“We have also submitted in writing the list of properties of AT group seized by the police thrice for its attachment to the State’s Finance department. The assets worth Rs 410 crore identified as belonging to to AT group includes 11 costly cars, 159 buildings, 242 acres of land and Rs 2 crore in bank balance. As many as 26 cases have been registered against the company in around 10 district police stations in the state such as Khurda, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Ganjam, Cuttack, Angul, Jajpur and Dhenkanal,” he said.
“This apart, we have handed over around 70 acres of land documents possessed by Sambit Khuntia, former AT group director, to the CBI recently,” he added.
“The commissionerate, in its inquiry, did not unearth any linkage of the company with politicians and influential people with the chit fund company. But once the CBI inquiry started, one by one political leader are coming into scanner. This is the biggest proof of the failure of the state police in the case,” said a CBI officer.
The CBI got the evidence on the role of the commissionerate police two days ago during its raid on the office of the AT Group in the state capital. The police have already filed a charge sheet, which meant its investigation into the AT Group affair was over.