Top cop closely linked with AT chief: CBI

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Bhubaneswar: The supplementary chargesheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with the Artha Tatwa (AT) chit fund scam has revealed that former Crime Branch deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Pramod Panda, one of the main accused in the case, was quite close to AT group director Pradip Sethy.

In its report, the CBI has mentioned that Panda had unrestricted access to Sethy’s cabin. Sethy also showered the senior police official with expensive gifts like iPads and provided vehicles to travel within Odisha and flight tickets for travelling outside the State.

Moreover, Panda was provided chit fund money by AT group through the computer institute, which was being managed by his wife Gitanjali Panda. In return, Panda used to safeguard various illegal activities of AT group.

The Central investigating agency has highlighted various evidences recovered during raids at Panda’s house including a letter sent by Sethy urging the cop to take steps to release him from jail.

The CBI in its chargesheet has mentioned Jagabandhu Panda, another director of the group, as instrumental in tricking people in the name of high returns into investing in chit fund. Though his total salary during his two-year tenure at AT group was around Rs 5.39 lakh, Jagabandhu had taken an additional Rs 8 lakh in an illegal manner from the group. Moreover, another Rs 10.25 lakh was transferred to Jagabandhu’s account from AT group in 2012.

Similarly, another director Manoj Patnaik, in his tenure of four years at AT group, took Rs 60 lakh while his actual salary during the period comes to only about Rs 22 lakh.

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