Home ODISHA LATEST Odisha chit fund scam: CBI probing AT Group-floated ad agency’s political links

Odisha chit fund scam: CBI probing AT Group-floated ad agency’s political links


Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Sep 8

Following media reports that Artha Tatwa (AT) Group chief Pradip Sethy had invested Rs 1.65 crore in Theme Creatives Private Limited, an advertising agency promoted by two ministers and a person called Balabantaray through Bikash Swain, proprietor of an Odia daily, more information behind the investment and its links with politicians is gradually surfacing.
According to sources, the advertising agency Theme Creatives had taken Rs 1.65 crore from AT Group. Swain was the founder director of the agency, while Pradeepta Jena, who was its managing director, resigned from the company last year.

D Satpathy and Ms R Barada, wife of Bikash Swain, had joined the company as directors.

Satpathy, it is learnt, has resigned from his post after the dubious source of the ad agency’s funding came to light.

The agency’s branch head Hitesh Kumar admitted that they had business relations with the AT Group.

“There is nothing clandestine about it. We have handled their assignments and received money through release orders,” Kumar said.

The CBI has already interrogated Sethy and his accountant Srikrushna Padhi regarding the AT Group’s business deals with Swain and others.

The Central agency has also reportedly quizzed Swain, the newspaper owner, about the advertisement agency through which he had received money.

Sources said the CBI is interrogating Swain to find out the political angle in the Ad agency matter.

The CBI is now focusing on media reports on the Theme agency’s relationship with two young ministers, two MLAs of the ruling party and also other influential ruling party politicians and bureaucrats who facilitated the fraudulent operations of the AT Group.

Reports said, some political leaders had released advertisements to the media during panchayat polls and other elections through the Theme Creatives ad agency. Although the ruling party has clarified that it had not released any advertisement through the agency, the CBI is probing the claim, said sources.

The CBI is also interrogating Ranjan Dash, co-founder of the Artha Tatwa (AT) Group and founder of Swastik India Multi-State Cooperative Agency, on the transactions, deals and investments made by the chit fund company.