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Odisha chit fund scam: Seashore held sway over coop dept, finds CBI

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Nov 12:

The CBI, which is investigating into the mega chit fund scam in Odisha, has found evidence of the direct involvement of the state Cooperation department in the investments of Seashore Group of Companies.

Prashant Dash, CMD, Seashore Group  (Pic-Biswaranjan Mishra)
Prashant Dash, CMD, Seashore Group
(Pic-Biswaranjan Mishra)

The revelation came during an hour-long, face-to-face interrogation of arrested Seashore chief Prasant Dash and senior BJD MLA Pravat Triptahy, who was the president of the state copperative union when Seashore did most of its business with the state government on Tuesday, CBI sources said.

Reliable sources said that Dash had considerable influence on the Odisha State Cooperative Society as well as the state Cooperation department. The Seashore Group had formed 13 Cooperative societies which were immediately registered by the Cooperation department.

Through these societies, the money invested by the depositors was withdrawn by the Seashore Group.

These Cooperative societies, formed by Dash, had no problem in getting sanctions from the state government for their various works.

Apart from this, the CBI, during interrogation, also elicited vital information on the close relationship between Dash and several ruling party leaders and government officials and the assistance provided by them to the Seashore Group on several occasions.

The role of three ministers, who were in charge of Cooperation portfolio, has been under the CBI scanner in connection with the MoU signed by the Cooperation department with the Seashore Group for setting up of a cold storage in the state.

The CBI has begun investigation into the role and intention of these ministers in the signing of MoU and the senior bureaucrats who had evinced a keen interest in the matter.

“These ministers would be called up for interrogation in this matter. If necessary, action would be initiated against them”, said a senior CBI official.

The sources also informed that the Seashore chief had tried his best to not to divulge other facts while CBI officials were also able to notice a series of lies told by both Dash and Tripathy during a face-to-face interrogation.

Reliable sources said that the CBI has targeted the Health and Family Welfare, Agriculture and Tourism departments, which had also signed MoUs with the Seashore Group.