Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 29:
The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the State Crime Branch today arrested the director of Microfinance Ltd Baikuntha Patnaik and Ajay Swain, personal assistant (PA) to the commissioner-cum-secretary, Panchayatiraj on the charge of money laundering and issuing official letters without prior permission.
Acting on the complaint lodged by the Panchayati Raj department following media reports about an unauthorised letter issued by Swain in favour of the company, the EOW sleuths arrested the duo.
According to reports, Swain, during his stint as PA to the commissioner-cum-secretary, Panchayatiraj, had issued a letter in the name of the former, to all district collectors not to take action against the Microfinance Ltd, a non-banking finance company, and allow it to continue its business since it had got prior permission from the state government.
But as the report was flashed in a local TV channel, the state government placed Swain, who was recently transferred to the Home department, under suspension.
This was followed by a complaint lodged by the Panchayati Raj department with the EOW.
It may be noted that the state government was in an embarrassing situation during the hearing on the. PIL on the chit fund scam in Supreme Court on March 26 when it tried in vain to protect infamous ponzi firms like Seashore, Artha Tatwa and Asthaa.
The latest media reports about the unauthorised official letter written by Swain in favour of a micro finance company had landed the state government in further trouble.
The move to arrest Patnaik and Swain appears to have been prompted by the need to dispel the public perception that the state government was hand in glove with the ponzi firms in Odisha.