Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, May 18:
In an ex-parte ad-interim order, a designated court in Cuttack district today directed the concerned Odisha government officials to sell through public auction the attached properties of M/s Safex Infra India, a chit fund company operating from Berhampur in Ganjam district and distribute the sale proceeds among the investors equitably.
The court, in its judgement, gave the orders to confiscate and sell the seized properties of the Ponzi company, which include 15 acres of land and bank deposits worth Rs 5 lakh, after holding the order of attachment passed by the state government this year as ‘absolute’.
On January 18 this year, the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the State Crime Branch (CB) had sought permission of the Finance department for liquidation of the assets of Safex Infra India to facilitate refund of money to duped investors as per the provisions of the Odisha Protection of Interests of Depositors (in Financial Establishments) Act, 2011.
In September, 2012, the CB had raided the offices of the chit fund company at Berhampur, Chhatrapur and Bhubaneswar after allegations made by hundreds of depositors in the state that it had cheated them of around Rs 10 crores on the promise of high returns.
Six senior company officials were arrested, important documents seized and bank accounts of the company frozen by the CB earlier.
Crime Branch officials had seized 15 acres of land possessed by the chit fund company across the state, besides Rs 5 lakh in bank deposits of the company, CB sources said.
On September 27 last year, the State government had taken possession of eight acres of land owned by Safex Infra India.
According to reports, revenue officials, during a survey of Rajpur and Bada Kharida Mouzas of Purusottampur tehsil in Ganjam district, had identified eight acres of land belonging to the chit fund company.
During the survey, it was revealed that 6.386 acres of land at Rajpur Mouza and 1.613 acres of land at Bada Kharida Mouza are in the name of Amlina Khan, director of Safex India and a native of Gopalpur village. Later, the officials handed over the land along with the records to Purusottam tehsil.
It may be mentioned that the CBI, during its investigation into the financial fraud by the AT Group, had found that Khan had close links with the Ponzi firm and also that the land was bought with the Artha Tatwa Group’s money.
On January 13 this year, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the CBI conducted simultaneous raids at 14 places, including Bhubaneswar and Ganjam, on the chit fund company director’s residential premises.
The SIT teams had raided the head office of Safex Infra India at Gandhi Nagar in Brahmapur, a branch office in the same city and another branch office at Chhatrapur.
The company is among the 44 chit fund companies being probed by the SIT of CBI.