CBI conducts raids over chit fund scam

Bhubaneswar: The Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the CBI Saturday conducted simultaneous raids at 14 locations of chit fund firm Microfinance Ltd in Odisha. CBI sources said raids were conducted at all the places where the company was operating its business and has offices, including Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Berhampur.

“In Odisha chit fund scam, the CBI conducted searches at 14 places of Microfinance Ltd offices and residences of its former managing director Durga Prasad Mishra, director Ashok Patnaik and other directors of the company,” said a spokesperson of CBI in New Delhi.

CBI sources said its officials also raided the Kharavela Nagar house of Ajay Swain, former personal assistant of commissioner-cum-secretary of Panchayati Raj department, the Saheed Nagar residence of Suratha Das, one of the directors of Microfinance Ltd, and the residence of retired IAS officer Jugal Kishore Satpathy in Bhubaneswar.

Reacting to the action taken by the CBI, Das, who is also an editor of a weekly newspaper, said, “I have never been to the office of the company and have not been involved in any of the dealings and transactions of the company.”

Refuting allegations that he has benefitted financially from the company, Das claimed that he was invited to become a director of the company and not to participate in any transactions. “However, after reports of irregularities by the company came to fore, I tendered my resignation,” he added.

Notably, Swain was earlier arrested by the Crime Branch for his alleged involvement in the scam and showing favours to Microfinance. He was involved in issuing a letter from the Panchayati Raj department, without the knowledge of its secretary, by virtue of which Microfinance was able to raise money from the depositors.

The SIT conducted raids at Patnaik’s Cuttack residence and at the head office in Berhampur. This is the second time that the CBI has carried out raids on places associated with Microfinance Ltd.