Chitgate: Bail granted to Panda, denied to Lenka; Silicon offices raided

Cuttack: Orissa High Court today granted conditional bail to suspended DSP Pramod Panda while the bail of Astha International’s Odisha head Subhransu Lenka was denied in connection with chit fund scam.

Sources said Panda has been asked to furnish a bond of Rs 10 lakh.

Earlier in April last year, the Economic Offence Wing (EOW) of Crime Branch had sought permission from the Finance department to attach properties of Astha International, embroiled in the multi-crore chit fund scam in Odisha.

The Surat-based company is facing allegations of duping depositors to the tune of over Rs 500 crore.

Lenka was arrested in June 2013 for cheating investors across the State. A case has been lodged against Astha International and Astha Goat Farming Ltd under Sections 420, 406, 467, 468, 471, 120(b) and 34 of Indian Penal Code. Charges under Sections 4, 5, 6 of Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act have also been pressed against them.

According to the enforcement agency, most of the company’s investors were from Berhampur, Bhubaneswar and Balasore.

Meanwhile, CBI sleuths today conducted searches in 26 different locations across India of the Silicon group of companies which is allegedly running chit fund operations. The Kolkata-based group is one of the 44 chit fund companies being probed by the CBI following directions of the Supreme Court.

“Searches were conducted at 26 locations including 16 places in West Bengal, five places in Haryana, two each in Bihar and Jharkhand and one place in Odisha,” a CBI official said in Kolkata.