Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar/New Delhi, Mar 18:
The Supreme Court today directed leading Odisha-based builder Tirupati Panigrahi, Chairman of the Hi-Tech group, to deposit remaining Rs 13 crore in four weeks failing which it will cancel his conditional bail.
A two-member division bench of the apex court directed Panigrahi to deposit Rs 13 crore of the Rs 63.5 crore for refund to people who paid money but did not get the land promised to them by the company. In case of not conforming to the court order, it will cancel its bail, the court said.
It may be recalled that the apex court, on February 21, 2014, had granted conditional bail to Panigrahi and directed him to deposit Rs 63.5 crore to be refunded to duped land buyers.
Earlier, Panigrahi had deposited Rs 20 crore, Rs 18 crore, Rs 9 crore and Rs 3.5 in four installments.
It may be mentioned that the Economic Offences Wing (EoW) of the state Crime Branch had arrested Tirupati and his two relatives and the directors of the Hi-Tech group— Tirupati Choudhury and Madhusudan Panigrahi— on December 25, 2012 for reneging on the promise of providing residential plots to people after taking money from them in 2009.
The probe by the EOW of the Crime Branch had revealed that the Hi-tech Group owed more than Rs 315.96 crore to the investors.
The Group had received money from 17,181 investors with promise of providing them with residential plots of whom 16,901 investors are yet to get the land.
The EOW has registered at least five cases against the Hi-Tech Group so far.
The Supreme Court had granted bail to Tirupati in February last year with a condition to refund Rs 63.55 crore to investors.
In May 2014, the court had asked him to return depositors’ money within 3-4 months.
Conducting a hearing in the land fraud case, the apex court turned down the plea of Panigrahi, who had sought at least six months to start the process to refund the amount to investors.
The Hi-Tech chief owns real estate firms, two private medical colleges and several professional educational institutes, under the business conglomerate Hi-Tech Group, at different places of Odisha.