Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 22:
As per the directions of the Supreme Court, Odisha-based builder Tirupati Panigrahi, Chairman of the Hi-Tech group, today deposited the remaining amount with the apex court to satisfy the bail condition.
Panigrahi deposited of Rs 13, 05, 49, 227 with the top court today following which his bail remains in force.
“I welcome and respect the Supreme Court’s decision. I express my regret for the inconvenience caused to the investors. I have deposited the full amount as directed by the court. The court would look into the matter on how the investors’ will get back their money. Law is taking its own course and I respect the law,” Tirupati Panigrahi said.
On March 18 this year, a two-member division bench of the apex court directed Panigrahi to deposit the amount of the Rs 63.55 crore within four weeks for the refund to people who paid money but did not get the land promised to them by the company. In the case of not conforming to the court order, it will cancel the conditional bail granted to Panigrah, the court had said.
It may be recalled that the apex court, on February 21, 2014, had granted conditional bail to Panigrahi and directed him to deposit Rs 63.5 crore to be refunded to duped land buyers.
Earlier, Panigrahi had deposited Rs 20 crore, Rs 18 crore, Rs 9 crore and Rs 3.5 in four installments.
It may be mentioned that the Economic Offences Wing (EoW) of the state Crime Branch had arrested Tirupati and his two relatives and the directors of the Hi-Tech group— Tirupati Choudhury and Madhusudan Panigrahi— on December 25, 2012 for reneging on the promise of providing residential plots to people after taking money from them in 2009.
The probe by the EOW of the Crime Branch had revealed that the Hi-tech Group owed more than Rs 315.96 crore to the investors.
The Group had received money from 17,181 investors with a promise of providing them with residential plots of whom 16,901 investors are yet to get the land.
The EOW has registered at least five cases against the Hi-Tech Group so far.
The Supreme Court had granted bail to Tirupati in February last year with a condition to refund Rs 63.55 crore to investors.
In May 2014, the court had asked him to return depositors’ money within 3-4 months.
Conducting a hearing in the land fraud case, the apex court turned down the plea of Panigrahi, who had sought at least six months to start the process to refund the amount to investors.
The Hi-Tech chief owns real estate firms, two private medical colleges, and several professional educational institutes, under the business conglomerate Hi-Tech Group, at different places of Odisha.