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Odisha chit fund scam: BJD MLA Pravat Tripathy faces CBI interrogation for fourth time

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Oct 25:

Former Odisha government chief whip and BJD MLA from Banki Pravat Tripathy presented himself at the CBI office here today.

Tripathy, who arrived at the CBI office around 12.30 pm, straight away headed for the Investigating Officer’s room and is currently being interrogated for his suspected complicity in the mega chit fund scam in Odisha and his alleged links with the Artha Tatwa (AT) Group.

Pravat Tripathy, BJD MLA
Pravat Tripathy, BJD MLA

This is for the fourth time Tripathy has appeared before the CBI team for interrogation in connection with the chit fund scam.

This is Tripathy’s first appearance before the Central investigating agency since the Odisha High Court rejected his anticipatory bail plea on October 20. The court had earlier given him interim relief on September 30 for about 20 days preventing his possible arrest by the CBI.

While granting interim relief to Tripathy, the court had asked the CBI to submit the forensic lab report of the voice test that sought to match his voice in a recorded phone conversation with AT group chief Pradip Sethy with the voice recorded by the CBI during his interrogation.

The CBI as per the court’s instruction submitted the transcript as well the forensic lab report of the voice test which sources said has clearly mentioned that the voice sample of Tripathy matched with that of the telephonic conversation recorded in the CD. Following the forensic lab’s voice test report the court rejected the anticipatory bail plea of Tripathy.

After rejection of his bail plea Tripathy had said in his reaction that although he respects the court order, it is not going to be the end of his legal battle.

Tripathy, whose house was raided in August by the CBI in connection with its probe into the chit fund scam, had moved the High Court on September 15 seeking anticipatory bail, apprehending that the Central agency may arrest him anytime.

A day after Tripathy moved the High Court, he was interrogated for over five hours at the Bhubaneswar CBI office in connection with his alleged links with AT Group chief Pradip Sethy.

It may be mentioned here that the CBI, during simultaneous raids on the houses of Tripathy at Banki and at Kaligali in Cuttack, had seized some important documents apparently confirming his links with the AT Group.

Later, the residence of his close associate Subash Padhi in Banki was also raided and his bank accounts scrutinised by CBI officials for possible leads to Tripathy’s financial transactions with the tainted chit fund company.

Ashish Sahu, a member of the state executive committee of the ruling Biju Janata Dal, known to have been very close to some influential BJD MLAs and ministers including Tripathy, was also interrogated on September 14 for over four hours by the CBI for his alleged links with the AT Group.