Home HEADLINES Odisha chit fund scam: EOW arrests Vista Group director

Odisha chit fund scam: EOW arrests Vista Group director


Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, May 21:

The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Odisha Crime Branch today arrested Bijay Swain, a director of M/s Vista Management Services Ltd, from Bhubaneswar.

Vista Director Bijay Swain after his arrest by EOW
Vista Director Bijay Swain after his arrest by EOW

Informing this to the media, Crime Branch ADG BK Sharma said the EOW officials were raiding several places in Bolangir and Bhawanipatna where the chit fund companies had duped over Rs 50 crore from the people.

It may be mentioned that the EOW had arrested Deb Kumar Panda, managing director of the company on May 17 while he was leaving for Vizag on Bhubaneswar-Tirupati Express to catch a flight to Singapore.

A day after his arrest, a designated court of the EOW allowed the investigating agency to take Panda on 3-day remand for further interrogation into the case.

Meanwhile, in a revelation that could further embarrass an already embarrassed government, it has emerged that Vista, like its bigger cousin Seashore, had entered into a deal with the state government-owned APICOL for setting up of an agro services centre (ASC) at Bantala village in Khurda district.

In a letter to the Khurda district agriculture officer in November, 2011, the then APICOL chairman Balakrushna Rath, whose name also figured in the CBI probe into the Seahore-APICOL links, had asked it give Vista a ‘promoter’s profile’ and process its proposal for the ASC.

This nexus between APICOL and Vista came to light during a search conducted by the EOW at the APICOL office here yesterday. Among the things seized during the raid was a Vista brochure that claimed the company had partnered APICOL in projects worth Rs 500 crores.

The raid is continuing today too.

The brochure had a picture of a present minister of the Naveen Patnaik government and a Rajya Sabha member who also was a minister earlier. This points to the close links that the BJD had with the tainted company and lends credence to the charge made by Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra a few months back.

“We are verifying the claim made in the brochure,” said an EOW official.

APICOL managing director (MD) Om Kar, however, made light of the brochure saying the company could be misusing APICOL’s brand name to further its business interests. “APICOL had no business deal with Vista,” he averred.