The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Odisha Police Crime Branch on Friday alleged that the officials and staff of the Sambad are not cooperating in its investigation into the loan scam.
In a press note, the agency stated, “EOW is continuing its investigation into its Case no-24 dated 16.09.2023 u/s 506/467/468/471/420/120-B IPC related to Bank loan fraud by Sambad/Eastern Media Limited (EML) using criminal intimidation, cheating and forgery,”
“Yesterday a team of EOW conducted searches in the office of Sambad. However, Sambad officials/ staff did not cooperate in the investigation. Many important files/documents were found missing. The Sambad officials refused to hand over a few suspicious files to the EOW team. The EOW team also wanted to copy some relevant computer files of accounts and HR sections but they were denied. In this situation the EOW team was forced to seize some Hard Discs,” stated the note.
The EOW also said that the victimised employees of Sambad/EML have been examined and they have also corroborated the allegations.
The investigating agency of the Crime Branch informed, “Authorities of Odisha Gramya Bank, Bhubaneswar have initiated a departmental enquiry to look into the allegation of loan fraud by Sambad/Eastern Media Limited.”
When asked, EOW SP, Dillip Tripathy said, “Though they (Sambad staff) didn’t cause obstacles, they didn’t cooperate. Next, we will follow the procedure of law.”
Notably, Khandapada MLA & Sambad Editor, Soumya Ranjan Patnaik was expelled from the Biju Janata Party (BJD) party on September 21.
Issuing a press note, the party had said, “On an FIR by an ex-employee of Sambad Newspaper a case under sections 506/467/468/471/420/120-B IPC has been registered against him and others by Economic Offence Wing (EOW) Odisha. Further many ex-employees of Sambad newspaper have made similar allegations with EOW Odisha. It is a serious case of organized bank fraud involving loans worth crores of Rupees taken in the name of more than 300 employees.”