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SC seeks Centre’s reply in 6 weeks on delay in Odisha chit fund probe

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi, Feb 17:

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Additional Solicitor General (ASG) to reply on the alleged delay in the CBI probe into the mega chit fund scam in Odisha within the next six weeks.

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The apex court bench of Justice TS Thakur and Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, after hearing the petition of  43 depositors filed by their counsel and senior lawyer Prasannajit Mohapatra, directed the ASG Manindar Singh to file a counter in six weeks.

The petitioners had alleged that though the apex court had directed the CBI to probe into the chit fund scam in Odisha in May last year, the central investigating agency had not made satisfactory progress so far.

They prayed to the court to fix a specific timeline for the CBI in its investigation into the mega scam so that the process for return of their deposit money could be made.

The petitioners also drew the court’s attention to the fact that the return of money to depositirs from the corpus fund set up by the Odisha government is contingent on the progress of the CBI probe.

“While the state government has confiscated the properties of some chit fund companies, it has made it clear that it would start the process for return of the deposit money only after the CBI completes its investigation,” they pointed out.

The bench, after hearing the petition, asked the ASG to file the response on the probe conducted so far and wanted to know whether the CBI was filing any plea seeking modification of its order on May 9 last year in which it was asked to take over entire investigation against firms, including Saradha, in chit fund scams in West Bengal, Odisha and Assam.

The CBI had earlier said that due to lack of manpower, it has been unable to take up probe in all chit-fund scam cases.

It may be mentioned that the apex court, on May 9 last year, had directed the CBI to probe the chit fund scam in West Bengal, Odisha and Assam in which various companies, including Saradha, had allegedly duped investors of around Rs 10,000 crore, while taking note of allegations against the scamsters getting patronage of people in high positions.