Odishatv Bureau

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has been conducting raids in Odisha in connection with the chit fund scam. But the ongoing talks of a possible alliance between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) seems to have eclipsed the issue as there is no debate or discussion on it.

Fear of CBI & ED

The ruling BJD dispensation had sleepless nights over the same chit fund scam during the 2014 elections. The case hasn’t been closed yet. Even today, lakhs of affected small investors are waiting to get back their hard-earned money. Meanwhile, many have already died. 

Odisha Congress chief Sarat Pattanayak said the BJD is opting for an alliance with the BJP in fear of the CBI and the ED. 

Opposition parties have been alleging that the BJP has been using the investigative agencies as a weapon in states where the saffron party is not in power.

The NDA has set its eyes on capturing 400-plus seats which is why it is said to be mounting pressure on the BJD. 

Damage control by BJD

When the Chit Fund scam in West Bengal came to the fore in 2013, the links in Odisha also got revealed and many BJD leaders’ involvement was alleged. 

Fearing the issue may cause a problem in the 2014 general elections, the Odisha government took a damage control move. It set up an investigation commission chaired by Justice Patra to identify the leaders and officers involved and to punish them. 

In another move, the state government also announced the formation of a corpus fund of Rs 300 crore so that the affected depositors can get back their money. Then the depositors welcomed the government’s decision. 

Wait continues for investors 

By the time when the Odisha people will be exercising their franchise in the 2024 elections, the chit fund scam probe would have completed 10 years. During these 10 years, the state has witnessed two elections. The 2024 election dates may get announced at any time. But the affected depositors’ wait is yet to end. 

Meanwhile, several raids have been conducted by the Crime Branch, the CBI, and the ED and the case has gone from the Orissa High Court to the Supreme Court. After the death of Justice Patra, the tenure of Justice Das also ended but not the plight of the depositors. 

The case was transferred to the CBI after the three-member division bench led by Justice BR Pati and TS Thakur delivered its decision that several financial organisations including Sarada have misappropriated crores of money in Odisha, West Bengal, Tripura, and Assam. 

With the case being transferred to the CBI, the affected depositors were hopeful that they would soon get back their money. But nothing of that sort has happened. They are still waiting for their money and justice. 

Last year, the state government informed the Supreme Court through an affidavit that it disbursed Rs 83.46 crore among 2.10 lakh depositors by November 2022.

(By Dilip Sabat) 

(DISCLAIMER: This is an opinion piece. The views expressed are the author’s own and have nothing to do with OTV’s charter or views. OTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)