Chitgate: Minister’s aide among two BJD men grilled by CBI

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Bhubaneswar: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officials on Friday interrogated two BJD functionaries, including a ‘close associate’ of senior BJD leader and School and Mass Education minister Debi Prasad Mishra, for their alleged involvement in the multi thousand crore chit fund scam.

Sources said Dillip Mishra, the man who looks after the minister’s political engagements and Prafulla Singh, BJD’s former executive president for Cuttack district, were grilled by sleuths of the agency for about five hours at the CBI office here.

Both were questioned for their alleged role in the Seashore chit fund scam, the sources added.

After his marathon interrogation, Singh said, “CBI is investigating the case. I answered whatever questions the officials asked me.”

When asked whether he was mediating for some influential people, he replied: “I have neither mediated for anybody nor do I know the Seashore group.”

On the other hand, Dillip alleged that Banki MLA Pravat Tripathy, who was arrested for his links in the chit fund scam, was behind his CBI interrogation.

“They (CBI) asked me whether I was collecting money on behalf of (minister) Debi Prasad Mishra. I said that I don’t even know the owner of Seashore. Since Banki MLA Pravat Tripathy has been dragged into the chit fund controversy, he had brought allegations against me before the investigating officials,” Dillip stated.

The CBI interrogation, after a brief lull of nearly two months, came after a number of investors duped by several companies staged a demonstration in front of Odisha Bhavan in New Delhi last month. The agitators had blamed the Crime Branch of Odisha police for trying to shield some Ollywood-actors-turned-BJD politicians in the Oscar Group chit fund fraud.

However, arrests of Tripathy and Mayurbhanj MP Ramachandra Hansdah, and interrogation of Balasore MP Rabindra Jena, Choudwar-Cuttack MLA Pravat Biswal and Dharmasala MLA Pranab Balabantaray have strengthened public suspicion about the ruling party’s links with the bogus deposit collection companies.

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