AT group chief claims involvement of pol leaders

Bhubaneswar: The chief of the controversial non-banking financial institution (NBFI) Artha Tatwa (AT) group on Tuesday claimed the involvement of certain ministers, officers and top politicians in his illegal money circulation activities.

Pradip Sethi, who was arrested on Sunday night, was on Tuesday sent to judicial custody for 14 days after his bail petition was rejected by a local court here.

"I have given all evidence relating to involvement of some ministers, top politicians and officers who helped me undertake such illegal activities," Sethi told reporters before being whisked away by the police at the court premises.

Admitting himself to be a conman who cheated people by luring them with benefits, Sethi said: "I have vehicles, properties and financial transaction with some influential persons. I have told everything to the police during interrogation."

Claiming that he was blackmailed by certain people, Sethi said: "I have voice and video tapes relating to blackmailing by some people. I have handed over those tapes to police.

"Let the people know the real face of certain people who helped me in illegal activities. I am a cheat, no doubt. But I want the people should also know other cheats also," he said, adding that he wanted to return the money to duped investors by selling properties.

Asked whether he was evading arrest by the police, Sethi claimed that he was meeting certain senior officers during the time.

There are 11 criminal cases against Sethi in different police stations, including three in Bhubaneswar, city DCP Nitinjit Singh said.

AT group had allegedly taken deposit of Rs 1.5 crore from the state capital, he added.

He said cases have been registered against the accused in Balasore, Kandhamal, Ganjam, Khurda, Mayurbhanj and some other districts.

Preliminary investigation by police has showed that Sethi's AT group allegedly duped investors to the tune of Rs 130 crore.

A retired DIG of Police was the first to file an FIR (on February 7, 2013) against AT group for allegedly defrauding him of Rs 17 lakh, at Kharvel Nagar police station here.