Dilip Kumar

Balasore: The State government has initiated process to refund the small depositors duped in the high-profile chit fund scam in Odisha. The government has decided to return the money to the small depositors in Balasore district by the end of February.

The depositors have been asked to submit their indemnity bond or details of bank account regarding chit-funds to their respective Revenue Inspector (RI) or Tehsil office.

As per the reports of Chit Fund inquiry Commission, as many as 3,573 small depositors out of 7,734 in Balasore district have recieved their money back. However, 4,161 had failed to produce indemnity bond and bank details which posed hindrance in refunding, officials said.

As per the report-V of the Commission, 18,716 depositors who had parked their money in Rose Valley chit fund firm could not get back their money as they failed submit the indemnity bond.

The district administration has fixed February 15 as last date for Rose Valley customers to submit details while others can produce their documents by February 7.

"We have launched an initiative to reach out to the small depositors who are yet to get their money back. The poor depositors who have invested less than Rs 10,000 will be refunded. The initiative will be taken off on a mission mode," said Sambit Kumar Nayak, Additional Collector, Balasore.

On the other hand, Chit-fund Khyatigrasta Milita Manch, a forum of chit fund scam victims has raised question over the government's move for re-identification of depositors even after carrying out a detailed survey through various means to identify the depositors.

Smelling politics in the fresh initiative, Milita Manch convenor Jayant Das said, "As the elections to various civic bodies are approaching, the government has started a new episode to entice voters. The government will also play another drama in the forthcoming panchayat elections," Das said.

Notably, the state government had set up a Rs 300-crore corpus fund in 2013 to refund small depositors. The commission of inquiry had identified around 100,000 small depositors in Odisha.

Chit fund firms had collected around Rs 4,600 crore from people in the state over a period of four years, according to information gathered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Odisha Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

The state government had cracked down on 342 chit fund companies, including Seashore, Aartha Tatwa, Rose Valley, and Micro, for defrauding investors.