Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb 6:
The terms of reference (ToR) of the Commission of Inquiry probing the chit fund scam in Odisha will undergo a change to broaden its scope and will include a clause for refund of money to depositors, Law minister Arun Kumar Sahoo revealed here today.
“The government is fully committed to ensuring that those who have suffered losses due to the chit fund scam get back their money. To facilitate this, the scope of the probe by the commission will be broadened,” Sahoo told reporters here.
The ToR in the notification on the Commission of Inquiry published in the Odisha Gazette in July 2013, it may be noted, did not have any clause for refund of money to depositors.
The revelation about a change in the ToR comes a day after the government appointed Justice MM Das to head the Commission following the demise of Justice RK Patra, who headed it earlier, on January 28.
Along with the revised ToR, changes are also on the anvil in the database of depositors being prepared by Odisha Computer Application Centre (OCAC), which has been entrusted with the responsibility of digitizing the affidavits filed by depositors.
“The parameters fixed earlier for digitization are now being analyzed. We will go for necessary modification of certain fields in the database after these are ratified by the Commission of Inquiry and made known to us,” said R N Pallei, Executive Director, OCAC.
Though OCAC has set a target of completing the database creation in five to six months, the progress so far has been tardy to say the least. Affidavits of only a little more than 20,000 depositors have been digitized so far.
Out of more than ten lakh affidavits submitted to the Commission, six lakh have been scrutinized till date while about two and a half lakh envelopes are yet to be opened. Currently, work is on at 30 workstations. OCAC has plans to request the government to raise the number of workstations to 50.
The role of the inquiry commission is significant as the state government has set up a Rs 300 crore corpus fund in order to return money to the small investors cheated by ponzi companies.