Mrunal Manmay Dash

Opening the murky chapter of chit fund scam in Odisha again, the Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Odisha government and the CBI to submit a report on the steps taken to refund the money of the chit fund beneficiaries.

Hearing a writ petition, a two-judge bench chaired by Justice MR Saha and Justice Krishnamurari conveyed their dissatisfaction on the delay in refunding money to the beneficiaries and directed the Odisha government as well as the CBI to submit a report on the development of the case.

The bench also asked to point out all the efforts the government has done so far to return the money of the chit fund beneficiaries.

Speaking to OTV, petitioner’s counsel, Prashant Bhushan said, “The Supreme Court had ordered CBI investigation on 44 chit fund companies operating in Odisha. Then the Stat government formed a commission of inquiry to identify the beneficiaries of the chit fund.”

“Then the Odisha government kept extending the tenure of the commission for eight years in which they claimed to have identified 5 lakh beneficiaries. But then the government terminated the commission in 2020 without giving it any more extension. However, the Odisha government has turned deaf and not a single beneficiary has received any money till now,” Bhushan added.

As per the petition, an audio CD was submitted to the CBI SP MK Sinha on March 28, 2015 that reveals names of 47 BJD MLAs, MPs, Ministers and Saroj Sahu who is close associate to the Chief Minister of Odisha, took Rs 550 crores from Seashore Chit Fund.

Seashore Chit Fund Company was the first company that came under the scanner of the Supreme Court and, consequently, the court directed the CBI to investigate 44 chit fund companies.

Earlier in March this year, the Orissa High Court had directed the competent authority to return the money to investors duped by chit fund companies maintaining first come first release basis.

After going through the details, the HC found the competent authority has already kept a sum of Rs 48,16,49,527 in its pocket.

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