Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Nov 10:
Prashant Dash, the Chairman and Managing Director of Seashore Group of Companies, a key player in the mega Odisha chit fund scam, today sought to link the crackdown on his company to the failed coup against Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik allegedly engineered by former BJD leader Pyari Mohan Mohapatra on the night of May 29, 2012.
“I was surprised when raids were conducted on my company barely a day after the alleged midnight coup,” he said denying any links with the former ‘Margadarshak’ of the ruling party.
“I still cannot figure out what exactly went wrong immediately after the alleged coup since my companies were doing very well till then. After all, the state government itself had signed several MoUs with my company in areas like cooperatives, tourism and health. I am sure the government must have ascertained the credentials of the company before doing so,” Dash told media persons while being taken to the Khurda dstrict and sessions court where he would be produced later today at the end of his 14-day ED remand.
He said his companies were doing well before the raids and had invested money to the tune of Rs 50 crore in these projects.
“I have invested all the money collected in Group companies and nowhere else. I have provided all details to the Enforcement Directorate officials during the course of my interrogation,” the Seashore chief said.
It may be recalled here that the ED was allowed by the Khordha district and sessions court on October 28 to take Prashant Dash, CMD of the Seashore Group, on a 14-day remand for interrogation to trace the money trail.
On September 19, the ED had requested the court to allow it to take Dash on remand. In its order, the court had asked Jeypore jail authorities to produce Dash before it.
On October 24, the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court Jeypore had allowed Dash to be produced before the Khordha district and sessions court on October 28.
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 for duping thousands of investors of hundreds of crores by promising hefty returns.