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Opposition floats names of four ministers in chit fund scam


Bhubaneswar, Aug 27

The Opposition Congress on Monday alleged that four ministers were involved in the multi-crore chitfund scam and demanded a CBI probe into the loot of depositors across the State.

“Four ministers and a senior party functionary and BJD MLA’s names are there in a petition filed in the Supreme Court. Therefore, nexus between the government and the ponzi companies are exposed,” leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh told reporters outside the House after participating in a marathon debate over the issue in the assembly.

BJP supported Independent MLA Pratap Sarangi also accused the four ministers of being involved in the scam. Sarangi read out a paper stating the amount allegedly received by the ministers.

Demanding CBI probe into the scam to which he dubbed as “state sponsored,” Singh said that the innocent people have been instead more looted by the government than the fraud companies. “Why is government so afraid of issuing a white paper on the illegal money circulation activities,” Singh asked.

Panchayati raj minister Kalpataru Das, who was during the time present at the house, immediately denied his involvement in such scam. “If my alleged involvement is proved, I will quit politics,” Das announced in floor of the house while three other ministers and a party’s senior functionary were yet to react over the matter.

Of the four ministers, three were of Cabinet rank while another was a minister of state, Singh said ridiculing Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s popular statement that law will take its course.

“Law is not taking its natural course when ruling party leaders are involved in any case,” the leader of opposition said.

Initiating the debate, Opposition Chief Whip Prasad Harichandan alleged that the chit fund companies were operating in the state for about one decade with proper knowledge of the state government.

“The Registrar of Cooperative (ROC) in 2002 had cautioned the state government through different letters about the shady activities of the ponzi companies. However, the government did not take any action against them therefore encouraging their loot activities,” Harichandan said.

Justifying his claim that the ponzi companies were operating with knowledge of the State Government, Harichandan said, “The RBI in a letter to the state governemnt cautioned about the suspicious activities of 57 companies. Then also, no action was taken against the fraud companies. This encouraged them to carry forward illegal activities.”

Harichandan revealed names of the persons including poor investors who committed suicide after being prey to ponzi companies. He also cited instances how senior ministers and Chief Minister had attended different functions organised by ponzi companies.

“The Chief Minister and Ministers had become ambassodars of such companies like film stars making advertisement for a particular brand,” Harichandan said.

Replying the debate, Finance Minister Prasanna Acharya said that regulating the fraud companies was not the sole responsiblity of the State Government. The central government agencies should take action against such companies.

“We do not escape our responsibilities and deny that no offence is committed. But, others should also be accountable as they have registered certain fraud companies,” the Finance Minister said.

The State Government have taken several steps against the ponzi companies and sealed their properties besides setting up a corpus fund to ensure return of money to poor investors.

“The State Government is aware of its responsibilities and gives priority. A Commission of Inquiry is set up to address grievances of investors,” Acharya said.

Rejecting the minister’s reply Congress member walked out of the house reiterating their demand of a CBI probe into the Ponzi scam. (PTI)