Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Dec 20:
The special CBI court here today allowed the CBI, which is investigating the mega chit fund scam in Odisha, to take DSP Pramod Panda on a five-day remand for interrogation on his links with the Artha Tatwa (AT) Group.
The CBI had arrested DSP Pramod Panda yesterady evening on charges of larger conspiracy and deriving undue financial benefits from the AT group. He is the first Odisha police officer to be arrested in the case. He was posted as DSP, district intelligence bureau (DIB), Nayagarh at the time of his arrest.
During the course of its investigation, the CBI had stumbled upon evidence of his complicity with the chit fund scam accused and AT group chief Pardeep Sethy. During a raid at his Bhadrak residence on November 18, the central agency had seized some crucial documents that pointed to financial transactions between him and the AT group.
The CBI had got tell tale evidence of transfer of huge amounts of money from the AT group to a computer centre named ZICA run by Panda’s wife Gitanjali, sources in the agency said.
The court also extended the remand period of former director of AT Group Jagabandhu Panda by five days while allowing the CBI to take another director of the group Manoj Pattnaik on a five day remand.
The CBI had moved the court to take Pattnaik on a 14-day remand on December 9, the same day it moved the court to take Jagabandhu Panda, another ex-director of AT group, on remand.
The special CBI court December 11 allowed the CBI to take Jagabandhu Panda on a nine-day remand from December 12.
Commissionerate Police had arrested Panda on May 28 last year in connection with the Rs 500- crore financial scam perpetrated by the company.
Panda, a resident of Balasore who had joined AT Group in 2008, allegedly embezzled nearly Rs 100 crore from the company before floating another money circulation company named Swastik India along with some former AT Group employees in 2011.
Manoj Pattnaik, who had been handling the AT Group’s gold trading business, had been arrested by the police in connection with the company’s financial fraud on May 31 last year.
Pattnaik, who at the time had managed to get an anticipatory bail in connection with a cheating case in AT Group, was arrested after police slapped a second case against him relating to fraud in gold trading by the company. He had reportedly embezzled nearly Rs 4 crore, CBI sources said.