Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Sep 6:
The CBI, which is probing the multi-thousand crore chit fund scam in Odisha, is likely to produce Bikash Swain, proprietor of ‘Suryaprabha’, a leading Odia daily published from the city, and Ranjan Dash, co-founder of the Artha Tatwa (AT) Group and founder of Swastik India Multi-State Cooperative Agency, in the CBI court and plead to take them on remand, sources in the CBI said.
Both were arrested by the central investigating agency on Friday after two days of intensive interrogation at the CBI office here. Sources said their arrests were made after CBI found substantial evidence about their complicity in the Artha Tatwa (AT) Group multi-crore scam.
AT Group CMD Pradip Sethy is said to have revealed to the CBI during the interrogation that Bikash Swain had taken Rs 4 crore from the Group. Sethy has also provided the video recording of the transactions with Swain to the CBI.
Swain failed to explain to his interrogators the purpose for which he had taken so much of money from the AT Group. He failed to produce any credible documents to account for the document, sources in the CBI said.
During its interrogation, the central probe agency found out that Swain had utilized the money to buy a piece of land at Jankia as well for development of his infrastructure, they said.
On being informed that was being arrested, Swain shouted at his interrogators, the sources added.
The other person arrested by the CBI, Ranjan Dash, was the co-founder of the AT Group and the founder director of AT Group’s Multi-State Cooperative, the cooperative arm of the ponzi company. Dash had reportedly taken several lakhs from the group to get the cooperative arm of the company registered in New Delhi which later led to bickering between him and Sethy. After falling out with Sethy, Dash quit the AT Group to form another ponzi company Swastik India with Jagabadhu Panda and Manoranjan Nanda.
Dash had purchased hundreds of acres of land in the name of Swastik India in Baleswar, Bhadrak and Baruan areas. Ever since commissionerate police arrested Jagabandhu Panda, Dash had been absconding. Dash is known to be very close to a BJD MLA, who has already been raided in this connection.
Four teams of the CBI conducted simultaneous raids at Suryaprava office , Bikash Swain’s residence at HIG 26 in Sailashree Vihar, Swastik India office near Ekamra Cinema on Cuttack Road and Ranjan Dash’s residence at Badagada BRIT Colony.
The remand period of AT Group CMD Pradip Sethy and the Group’s accountant Srikrushna Padhi ends today though it’s not yet clear whether the CBI will seek further remand for these two. But the agency will produce them before the court as their remand period ends today.
Meanwhile, the CBI is planning to conduct simultaneous raids in 75 locationsof the Seashore Group, another ponzi company, said sources. The CBI SP is now in Delhi on a two-day tour to finalize plans for the massive raids, sources added. He will return to the state capital on Monday and the raids are likely to take place any time after that. Presently, Seashore CMD is lodged in jail . The CBI is examining documents of the Group handed over to it by the Crime Branch. The Crime Branch is learnt has handed over nearly 80% of the documents it had with it pertaining to the tainted company.
Crime Branch police on Thursday had handed over all official documents and files of Seashore Group seized by them to the CBI team, which was entrusted witb the investigation by the Supreme Court
According to reports, the documents reveal the modus operandi of the Seashore company that had duped the people of the state to the tune nearly Rs 1500 crores with the active support of the state government.
As per available information, the Crime Branch had submitted the bank accounts, cheque books, land documents, bank drafts and receipts of gold biscuits purchased from the banks and jewellery shops to the CBI 10 days ago.
Besides, the Crime Branch had also submitted a copy of the statement of Seashore chief Prasant Dash during his interrogation it had conducted earlier.
The CBI after scanning a documents related to the Seashore Group is drawing up a list of individuals, who were involved with the Seashore financial fraud. Involvement of politicians in this case is not yet clear, sources said