Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi, Mar 26:
The Supreme Court today ordered the inclusion of Saradha, Artha Tatwa and Seashore chit fund companies in the list of companies to be probed despite objections by the counsel representing the state government during the hearing on the PIL filed by social activist Alok Jena .
While Suresh Tripathy, the counsel for Jena, submitted a list of 11 chit fund companies including Saradha, Artha Tatwa and Seashore to be referred to the CBI for inquiry, the counsel for the state government Subhashish Mishra presented a list of 37 companies which, interestingly, excluded Saradha, Artha Tatwa and Seashore.
The state government’s counsel argued that AT and Seashore were operating within the state and the volume of their business was small compared to others while Saradha had marginal business in the state.
However, the Court upheld the arguments put forth by SC Tripathy and ordered the inclusion of the three companies in the probe list.
A total number of 43 chit fund companies operating in Odisha have been enlisted by the Court. The state government’s counsel was told by the learned bench that he be informed that the list submitted by him could be referred to the CBI.
The Court also asked the state government’s counsel to submit details on the estimated total amount of money involved in the scam, copies of all chargesheets as well as the number of depositors affected by it by April 2, the next date of hearing.
The apex court bench also asked the government’s counsel if the probe done by the Odisha government had been able to establish any larger conspiracy behind the chit fund fraud and if so submit its report on the same.
Odisha government’s chief counsel in the case Gopal Subramaniam was not present during the hearing today and the Court was informed that he would also not be available on April 2.
The learned judges, Justice T S Thakur and Justice C. Nagappan, however, fixed the next date of hearing on April 2 and the date of final hearing on April 9.
More details are awaited.