Trouble mounts for Odisha journalist Ardhendu Das as one more FIR slapped

Bhubaneswar: Following the raid by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Odisha Crime Branch at the residence of ‘Bada Khabar’ TV news channel editor Ardhendu Das here yesterday, a fresh FIR has been lodged against him at the Badagada Police Station in the city.

Complainant Biswajit Sahoo, Director of Bhubaneswar-based company Intraxis Business Limited, has stated in the FIR that the firm had leased out 4226 sq. ft. of space on the second floor of a building at Tankapani Road here to A Media Venture (Bada Khabar), whose managing partner is Das.

The company had executed a lease agreement with Das with effect from 1 November 2020 till 30 October 2023. The lessee had agreed for timely payment of rent along with maintenance and electricity charges.

Sahoo alleged that Das has not been paying the rent and damaging the property intentionally by digging holes on the walls when being asked for the dues. Though Das was notified verbally and in written form to vacate the place, he allegedly threatened Sahoo of dire consequences instead of vacating the property.

Das has not paid rent amounting to Rs 5.81 lakh, including maintenance and electricity charges, alleged Sahoo, adding that he was harassed by Das and his staff.

Apprehending threat to their life, Sahoo has urged the police to take necesarry action in this regard.

Another complaint was yesterday filed against Das at the Purighat police station in Cuttack by a businessman namely Nisit Agrawal. The trader has alleged that Das purchased furniture and other articles worth Rs 11 lakh from him but paid only Rs 4.4 lakh while promising to pay the rest later. However, Das was yet to pay the dues.

Notably, the EOW had raided the house of Das for allegedly duping a Delhi-based businessman of Rs 92.47 lakh. Das was not present at the house during the raid. The EOW had earlier served him notice twice asking him to depose before it. However, he hadn’t appeared before the EOW.

As per a complaint lodged with the agency by Gagandeep Singh Chawla, proprietor of Solution Broadcast company, Das had contacted him in 2020 for buying equipment for the establishment of the news channel, following which a deal of over Rs 1 crore was finalised between the two.

Das had paid Chawla Rs 10 lakh in advance in this regard while it was decided that the remaining amount will be paid within the next 6 months.

However, Chawla has alleged that Das didn’t pay him the amount. On the basis of the complaint, the EOW on June 23 registered a case and started an investigation into the incident.

On the other hand, Das has refuted the allegation levelled by Chawla saying that most of the equipment were of sub-standard quality and not usable for broadcast purpose.

Most of the costly hardware and software provided by Chawla have been returned, he added.

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