Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Nov 18:
Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) honorary secretary Ahirbad Behera, along with four other official of OCA, today arrived at the CBI office here for further interrogation on his alleged links with the ponzi firm Artha Tatwa (AT) Group, a major player in the mega chit fund scam in Odisha.
This the third time Behera is appearing before the CBI to depose for his alleged links with the AT Group. The officials of the OCA, who also appeared with him are OCA joint secretary Sanjeev Dutta, OCA accountant MA Ahad and treasurer Satya Mohanty have accompanied Behera to the CBI office.
All of them left the CBI office at about 1.35 pm after an hour’s grilling by the agency.
Mohanty said OCA had spent more than Rs 1.5 crore in organising the Odisha Premier League (OPL), the marquee event modelled on the IPL.
“OCA spent Rs 55 lakh in sending the Odisha Ranji team to Australia in 2011-12, Rs 57 lakh in hiring former Australian player Michael Bevan to train the Odisha Ranji players in 2011 and Rs 30 lakh towards the logo and official jerseys for the senior, junior or women teams. The AT group had sponsored OCA to the extent of Rs 1 crore,” Mohanty told media persons while coming out of the CBI office after his questioning.
Asirbad Behera’s son Sanjay Behera, secretary of the Football Association of Odisha (FAO) was on Monday grilled by the CBI for the third time.
On Sunday, Asirbad Behera was subjected to a marathon grilling by the CBI for about 11 hours in two phases. Five other officials of the OCA were also interrogated by the CBI for OCA’s alleged links with ponzi firm Artha Tatwa (AT) Group. Among them were a joint secretary, an accountant and treasurer of OCA.
After the CBI took over the probe in the chit fund scam in Odisha, the CBI had raided the OCA office and Asirbad Behera’s residence on August 17 and seized several important documents.
The OCA secretary has been saying time and again that the AT Group had sponsored the OPL tournament and had paid Rs One crore towards sponsorship fees and that the OCA had all the documents to prove that it was a bona fide commercial deal. He had said a part of the sponsorship amount was spent in hiring Australian coach Michael Bevan to train Odisha Ranji team players.
Satyabrata Dhir, a realtor and a director of Trishna Real Estate (P) Ltd and other companies of the Trishna group also appeared before the CBI again this afternoon. He had appeared before the CBI Monday evening on summons from the central agency for his alleged links with the Artha Tatwa (AT) Group, a major player in the multi-crore chit fund scam in Odisha. He was interrogated for about an hour and a half yesterday by the CBI. However, Dhir had refused to reveal to anything to the media what he was interrogated about.
The CBI had raided his house here in the capital city on August 16 this year.
Dhir who is also a director of Sparsh Hospitals & Critical Care Private Limited was also interrogated by the Commissionerate Police for his AT Group links.
Dhir’s name was among the 22 persons named by AT Group chief Pradeep Kumar Sethy those who had financially benefitted from him. He had appeared before Kharvela Nagar police on June 5, 2013 and had claimed that the AT Group chief owes him money contrary to Sethi’s statement to police that he diverted crores of rupees into real estate and other businesses.
Dhir had then said Sethi owes him nearly Rs 3 crore. “He purchased several flats and plots from me, but did not pay me the whole amount,” Dhir said. He had however, declined to divulge details about the dealings.