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Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Odisha Crime Branch on Thursday arrested the editor of a private news channel in Bhubaneswar in connection with an alleged fraud case.

As per the initial information, Ardhendu Das was picked up last night by the EOW officials and later arrested after questioning in connection with duping of a Delhi-based businessman in Rs 1 crore fraud case. However, the EOW has not released any official statement regarding the arrest of Das.

The businessman, Gagandeep Singh Chawla, had lodged a complaint with the EOW alleging that Das had purchased equipment to set up a news channel with a deal of over 1 crore. However, Das did not pay the remaining amount. Based on this complaint, the EOW registered a case and initiated an investigation. 

On the other hand, Das refuted the allegations against him saying that most of the equipment sold by Chawla was not up to the standard and unusable for broadcast purpose.

“I had said to EOW that I would appear on July 1. It was finalised that pending amount for sale-purchase deal with the concerned company would be paid through cheque. EOW and firm authorities are aware about it. Despite this, I was picked up. I don’t have any intention to dupe anybody,” said Das before his arrest.

“The State government has taken action against me intentionally for exposing it. It should be ready to face consequences,” he added.

Meanwhile, senior advocate Soura Chandra Mohapatra said the arrest of Das is not justified.

“It is a commercial transaction by two individual parties and EOW should not have intervened in the matter. The concerned company should have lodged a complaint with the police rather than EOW. As per the Supreme Court rule, there is no criminal aspect in this transaction. Hence, the concerned company should have moved Civil Court to get back its payment,” said Mohapatra.

Meanwhile,Das has been sent to judicial custody till July 13.

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