Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi/Bhubaneswar, Apr 20:
Tirupati Panigrahi, Chairman of the Hi-Tech group, a leading Odisha based builder, today sought two more weeks from the Supreme Court to refund Rs 43.55 crore to customers.
Making the appeal on behalf of Panigrahi, his counsel proposed to the apex court that Hi Tech would refund the pending amount by selling off the educational institutions owned by his client in two weeks.
On March 30 this year, the apex court had allowed two weeks’ time to Panigrahi to return the said amount.
Panigrahi, who was asked by the Supreme Court to deposit Rs 63.55 crore as refund money, has deposited only Rs 20 crore till date.
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 which about 16,901 investors are yet to get the land.
The EOW, so far, has registered at least five cases against the Hi-Tech Group.
The Supreme Court had granted bail to Tirupati in February last year with a condition to refund Rs 63.55 crore to investors.
The court, later in May, 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, in different places of Odisha.