Two arrested for cheating investors

Phulbani: Two persons were arrested by crime branch of Odisha police on charge of cheating investors of crores of rupees in Kondhmal district by operating separate illegal finance companies. One Ramesh Pradhan, chairman of Gramya Unnayana Sahayak Gosthi, with its office at Dodingia near Raikia was arrested from Bhubaneswar on Saturday while Bachhan Paricha, chief of Itcol, another finance company, was nabbed at Raikia recently, Biranchi Narayan Bagha, Inspector in-charge, Raikia said today.

Based on a complaint by convenor of Koidina Forum of Peace and Justice, Kesamati Pradhan, about many unregistered finance companies in the district, who were duping gullible customers with false promises, the district administration had referred it to the state government which entrusted the matter to crime branch, he said. Gramya Unnayana Sahayak Gosthi had allegedly duped over 30,000 depositors of about Rs five crore in Raikia area during the last two to three years by promising huge profits.

Earlier, two functionaries of another finance company with its office at G Udayagiri, were arrested by the police about six months ago. It had raised over Rs eight crore from the depositors. Another company at G Udayagiri had also collected money from over 10,000 depositors.

Customers were being taken for a ride by the illegal and unregistered finance companies in the district who dupe them with false promise of high interest rates, doubling of the money in two-three years and other freebies. "All finance companies operating in the district are now under our watchful eye," Bagha said.