Bhubaneswar, Dec 6:
Having tried everything they could to make the BJD government redress their grievances, depositors who have lost the savings of a lifetime to chit fund companies have now decided to hit where it would hurt the most. In an ultimatum that is sure to give sleepless nights to the BJD supremo and chief minister Naveen Patnaik, nearly 50 lakh depositors duped by the chit fund companies have now threatened to exercise the newly introduced ‘none of the above’ (NOTA) option in the coming elections if the process of returning their hard earned money did not begin during the ongoing session of the Assembly.
“Nearly 50 lakh people have lost everything that they had due to the chit fund scam. They have been running from pillar to post for the last seven months, but to no avail. The state government, which protected and promoted the fraudulent companies, has all along been trying to take the depositors for a ride. This has forced us to serve the ultimatum,” said Aadvocate Jayanta Das, convenor of the Depositors’ Uunited Front, a body representing those who lost money due to the Ponzi scam, on Thursday.
Asking the state government to complete the process of identifying the losers and quantifying their losses through the tehsils, Das said if it failed to complete the process before the end of the Assembly session, the Front would launch a campaign for use of the NOTA option, Das said.
Questioning the inclination and the ability of the government to return the money to the depositors despite the Rs 300 crore corpus fund created for the purpose and the Depositors’ Protection Act, Das said; “While nearly 50 lakh depositors have lost money to the tune of Rrs 5, 000 crore, the assets that the government has managed to seize under the Act amounts to no more than Rs 150 crore belonging to two or three companies. At this rate, it is easy to see how long it would take for the government to seize the assets of the 192 such companies, auction them and return the money to the depositors.
“It is clear that the government has no intention of doing anything other than offering platitudes and promises till the elections,” he said.