Chit fund money transferred to BJD account: Cong

Bhubaneswar: The Congress on Tuesday dropped a bombshell alleging that crores of rupees were transferred by some accused in the chit fund scam to the bank account of the BJD.

Briefing media persons here, senior Congress leader and leader of the Opposition, Narasingh Mishra said he had asked the chief minister in the State Assembly today whether account number 10091755246 in the State Bank of India (SBI)’s main branch office in Bhubaneswar belongs to the Biju Janata Dal and what kind of involvement he has with this account.

“Besides, I have sought the details of one Purna Chandra Padhi, who has deposited cash worth lakhs of rupees in this account, his relationship with Krushna Chandra Padhi, their link with the Artha Tatwa (AT) Group, how much of money this father-son duo has deposited in this account and are they inside the jail,” Mishra said.

He also informed that a hefty amount of Rs 8 crore was found to have been transferred to this account on a single day.

“Who deposited this money? From which account the money was transferred to this account? Is this SBI account a ghost account?” Mishra asked.

He wondered how the Crime Branch police had no knowledge about the transfer of money during its investigation into the AT Group chit fund scam.

He said the reason behind asking these questions to the chief minister is that the prime responsibility of Justice MM Das, appointed by the state government as the chairman of Chit Fund Commission of Inquiry, was to identify influential persons, top bureaucrats and political leaders who were involved in the mega chit fund scam and had given ample scope to the chit fund companies to carry out their illegal activities in the state.

“Though three years have elapsed since the appointment of the Commission, it has not taken up this matter till date,” he said.

Mishra said as per practice, people are informed to provide information to the Commission through affidavits. But the Commission has not sought any information from the people.

“Now, the chief minister, in a bid to escape from the chit fund scam, has used the Commission as a shield for his protection and through the Commission said the government is not at fault as the fault lies with the investors. Hence, I had asked the chief minister whether he has resorted to this novel method to keep himself away from the chit fund heat,” the Congress leader added.

Supporting the contention of Mishra, BJP leader Pradip Purohit said the two chit fund accused, who are now in jail for their direct link with the chit fund companies, have transferred the chit fund money from their account to the BJD account in the SBI’s Main Branch in Bhubaneswar.

“Since the chit fund money has been transferred to the BJD account, its party supremo and chief minister Naveen Patnaik is also involved in the chit fund scam. Considering the gravity of the issue, the chief minister should give a statement in the House,” he demanded.

In his reaction, BJD spokesperson Pratap Jena said there is no veracity in the allegation made by the Opposition against the chief minister.

“If he (Narasingh Mishra) has any documents to substantiate his claim, let him hand them over to the CBI for investigation. If he fails to prove the charges, either he should retire from politics for good or he should tender an apology to the people of the state,” he said.

Meanwhile, the ruling party has asserted that the Leader of Opposition has mistaken Purna Chandra Padhi, an employee at the BJD office for the other Purna Chandra Padhi, an accused in the chit fund scam.

Maintaining that the money in question was membership fees of the party, a press release issued by BJD general secretary this evening asked Mishra to tender a public apology or resign as Leader of Opposition in keeping with the dignity of the post.