Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi, Jul 6:
Tirupati Panigrahi, Chairman of the Hi-Tech group, a leading Odisha based builder, today deposited Rs 18 crore as the second instalment of the Rs 63.5 crores that the Supreme Court had asked him to deposit for refund to people who paid money but did not get the land promised to them by the company.
With this, the tainted builder has now deposited Rs 38 crore with the apex court.
Making the appeal on behalf of Panigrahi, his counsel and well-known lawyer Kapil Sibal pleaded with the court to allow him four months’ time to deposit the pending amount of Rs 25.5 crore by selling off the educational institutions owned by him.
“The Supreme Court allowed me four months time to deposit the rest of the amount. I have made the part payment and will do justice to my customers by refunding the remaining amount to them within four months,” he said.
On March 30 this year, the apex court had allowed two weeks’ time to Panigrahi to deposit Rs 63.55 crore as refund money.
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 last year, 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.