Pradeep Sethy’s statement to media: Two escorting cops suspended

Bhubaneswar: In a move which is seen as the ruling BJD’s ‘face-saving’ exercise before the ensuing panchayat polls in the State, two policemen were on Thursday suspended for ‘allowing’ Artha Tatwa chief Pradeep Sethy to talk to media few days back. Bhubaneswar DCP Satyabrat Bhoi suspended one constable and a havildar who were escorting arrested Sethy.

On January 30, while being produced in a court here, Sethy told the media two incumbent ministers in the ruling BJD had taken financial favours from him. Though he did not mention names of the ministers, he had vowed to tell in ‘details’ to the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) about the ministers.

“Political leaders, including two ministers, have taken money from my group. I will reveal the details before the Serious Fraud Investigation Office, under the ministry of corporate affairs, on February 9. I have already explained about the company and its activities to the CBI and other agencies,” Sethy told media while he was waiting for the court van in the court premises.

He further said: “Businessmen, as well as politicians, are involved in the scam. As the CBI is investing the case, I cannot reveal the names.”

The SFIO, a specialised wing under the Union ministry of corporate affairs has been asked by a court here to investigate the AT scam and submit report within one month. The SFIO works for detection and prosecution of white-collar frauds. Sethy is currently lodged at the Jharapada jail for allegedly swindling Rs 1,200 crores from thousands of investors across the state.

Sources said Sethy’s statement will be recorded under Section 164 of CrPC February 9.

Sethy’s revelation assumes significance as the CBI had last year summoned food supplies and consumer welfare minister Sanjay Das Burma for his alleged links with AT Group. The CBI had asked Das Burma to appear with documents relating to a vehicle which was allegedly gifted to him by Sethy. Though the minister has already rubbished the charges, the CBI is tightlipped whether he was interrogated.