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Odisha chit fund scam: Court to decide on ED’s plea to take Seashore chief on remand today


Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Oct 28:

The Khordha district and sessions court here will today conduct a hearing on the petition of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to take Prasant Dash, CMD Seashore Group of companies, a major player in the mega chit fund scam in Odisha, on remand for interrogation to trace the money trail.

Prashanta Dash, CMD, Seashore Group
Prashanta Dash, CMD, Seashore Group

Sources said Dash who arrived at the court premises from Koraput at around 6.30 am today has been kept under tight security and is likely to be produced at the resident court of the ED in the Khordha district and sessions court at around 1.30 pm.

The ED is likely to move the court to take Dash on a 14-day remand for interrogation to trace the money trail of the depositors’ money to the tune of over Rs 700 crore collected by the Seashore Group, sources said.

The Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court Jeypore on October 24 had allowed Dash to be produced before Khordha sessions court on October 28.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had moved the Khordha sessions court on September 19 seeking Dash’s remand.

During the course of its hearing in the case, the Khordha sessions court had directed the superintendent of the Jeypore jail, where Dash was lodged, to produce him before it.

On September 26, the CBI, which is probing into the mega chit fund scam in the state under orders from the Supreme Court, had raided eight premises of Seashore in Dhenkanal and Baleswar districts to collect evidence against the group.

The CBI had also raided 29 places, including the houses Prashant Dash at Jharpada in Bhubaneswar, a senior official of the company and former director of STV Gopal Chandra Sahu at Sarua near Khordha and another senior official at Bharatpur in the state capital on September 25.

The Crime Branch which was earlier probing the company has seized its properties valued at more than Rs 200 crore.

It may be noted that while 6.5 lakh people were duped of Rs 4,375 crore between January 2012 and June 2013 by several chit fund companies, the Seashore Group alone is accused of swindling over Rs 700 crore from the deposits collected from thousands of people across the state.

Established in 2005-06, the Seashore conglomerate forayed into a host of fields including money circulation, real estate, media and gold trading.

The firm executed several projects in partnership with the state government, fuelling allegations of possible patronage given to the firm by some ruling party politicians.

Dash was arrested from Mumbai on June 19, 2013 and has been implicated in 37 cheating cases in various police stations across the state.