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Odisha chit fund scam: 3 arrested politicians produced in court; CBI to seek 10-day remand

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Nov 5:

The CBI produced the three politicians it arrested yesterday in connection with the Odisha chit fund scam – BJD MP from Mayurbhanj Ramchandra Hansda, former BJD MLA from Keonjhar Subarna Nayak and former BJP MLA from Hitesh Bagarti – in the special chief judicial magistrate court here today.

Ramchandra Hansda ( pic- Biswaranjan Mishra)
Ramchandra Hansda ( pic- Biswaranjan Mishra)

Hansda and the two former MLAs were arrested on Tuesday on charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating and diversion of funds for their alleged links with the financial fraud committed by the Odisha-based chit fund firm Nabadiganta Capital Services.

Sources in the CBI said it would seek a ten-day remand for the three arrested yesterday to interrogate them further on the money trail.

As they were being taken to the court, Hansda said the arrests were part of a ‘larger conspiracy’ to malign the BJD. “The CBI is doing this to get cheap popularity,” he told media persons.

Asked who could be behind the conspiracy, Hansda snapped back; “It is for you (media) to find out.”

Ex BJP MLA Hitesh Bagarti reiterated his earlier claim that he had nothing to do with the chit fund scam. “Everything will become clear once the investigation is over. We are fully cooperating with the probe and want that the investors, who have lost in the scam, should get their money back.”

A team of doctors from the Capital Hospital here requisitioned by the CBI conducted a health check up on the three before they were produced in the court. Suspended senior BJD leader and Banki MLA Pravat Tripathy, presently on CBI remand for his alleged links with the Artha Tatwa (AT) Group, a major player in the mega chit fund scam in Odisha, also underwenta check up.

A member of the visiting team of doctors told reporters that they examined the health condition of all the four was perfect. When specifically asked about Tripathy, the doctor said the Banki MLA was perfectly okay.

Earlier, the CBI had decided to take all of them to the Capital Hospital for medical examination, but later decided to requisition the doctors to its office here for conducting health check up on the four apprehending trouble by their supporters. It may be mentioned that Tripathy’s unruly supporters blocked the CBI’s way and did not allow it to take their leader to the court for nearly three hours on Sunday.

Sources said the CBI, during its interrogation of the three politicians so far, has come to know that they were active directors of Nabadiganta Capital Services, had operated the firm’s bank accounts, conducted meetings of the company , adopted resolutions at the company’s meetings and drawn money from the company’s bank account through self cheques.

The CBI has come to know during its investigation that the ponzi firm had operated through 40 bank accounts, the sources added.

Chairman cum Managing director (CMD) of the company Anjan Kumar Baliarsingh and two directors — Kartikeya Parida and Pradeep Patnaik — were arrested Oct 26. They are in jail after a special CBI court rejected their bail plea Nov 1.

Around Rs 8 crores of money collected through public deposits have been embezzled by the directors of the company, the sources said.

Akshaya Mohanty, a lawyer, told reporters at the court premises here that he had approached the Mayurbhanj MP to be his counsel, but the latter declined saying he would decide on whether to hire a lawyer only after his remand period is over. Mohanty said Hansda told him that he was an educated person and if required can plead his case himself.