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Odisha chit fund scam: DSP Panda, two ex AT directors named in supplementary chargesheet by CBI

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Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Apr 10:

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today submitted the supplementary charge sheet  against  three more persons – former DSP of Odisha Crime Branch (CB) Pramod Panda and two directors of Artha Tatwa (AT) Group – in the multi hundred crore scam at the special CBI court here.

DSP Pramod Panda
DSP Pramod Panda

The supplementary charge sheet charged Jagabandhu Panda and Manoj Kumar Pattanaik , both Directors of Artha Tatwa Group of Companies, and Pramod Kumar Panda, Dy.SP, Odisha Police for commission of offences u/s 120-B, 420, 406 & 409 IPC and sec. 4, 5, 6 of Prize Chit and Money Circulation Scheme (banning) act. Further investigation into the case is on, the charge sheet said.

The AT Group directors Panda and Patnaik were arrested by the Economic Offences Wing of state CB in 2013.

Former DSP Panda, whose links with AT Group chief Pradeep Seth have landed him behind the bars, was arrested on December 19, 2014 and the maximum of 120-day period in custody was coming to an end.

With a few public holidays ahead when the courts would remain closed, the CBI filed the charge sheet today to make sure that he cannot avail bail.

Panda is accused of receiving financial benefits from the AT Group. When the CBI had raided his house in Bomikhal area on September 25 last year, it had stumbled upon documents pointing to his close acquaintance with the AT Group chief, who had also bought air tickets for him.

The probe agency had seized copy of FIR and chargesheet filed against AT Group Director Jagabandhu Panda, the agreement between him and AT Group, his letters to the company and a visiting card of Sethy.

Similarly, a computer education institution ZICA, which Panda’s wife Geetanjali ran in Bhubaneswar, was found to have received funds from AT Group accounts. He was the first police officer in the State to be netted in the multi-thousand crore Ponzi scam in the state.

The scenarios with the two AT directors were also the same. While Jagabandhu played a major role in floating of the money circulation schemes, he was also instrumental in creation of Swastik India, another chit fund firm.  Pattnaik, on the other hand, dealt the gold trading business of AT Group.

The CBI had filed its preliminary chargesheet in the case against the Artha Tatwa (AT) Group on December 11 last year.

The 233 pages chargesheet was against 16 persons, including AT Group chief Pradeep Kumar Sethy, BJD MLA from Banki Pravat Tripathy and former Advocate General Ashok Mohanty.