Chit fund depositors threaten stir after probe panel extends deadline

Bhubaneswar: With the Justice MM Das Commission of Inquiry probing the multi-crore chit fund scam in Odisha extending the deadline for receipt of affidavits from depositors duped by chit fund companies to January 31, duped depositors have now threatened to launch a stir if their money is not returned by February.

The Commission’s deadline was December 31, 2018 to receive petitions from the depositors but the deadline has been extended till January 31, 2019. The Commission informed that depositors can file their petitions either by Speed Post, Registry or Courier services.

Though the extension of deadline has been welcomed by depositors who have not been able to file their affidavits, others who have long been waiting to get their money back have opposed the move. Depositors have alleged that the government is intentionally trying to hoodwink people by extending the deadline. They further demanded that the government should float an open tender for the confiscated assets of the chit fund firms rather than going for e-tender process.

“I don’t know if we can get back our deposited money, but it seems that the extension of the deadline is an attempt to fool people,” said a depositor.

Jayant Das, Convenor of Milita Khyatigrasta Jamakari Mancha said “The Commission should finish the inspection of the petitions as quickly as possible and make provisions for refund. But if the government is not able to return the money, we will be forced to launch protest.”

From the affidavits received, the Commission has so far identified 2,18,354 small depositors with deposits of less than Rs 10,000. Some chit fund companies have also returned money to as many as 1,485 depositors.

While comments from Finance Minister Sashi Bhusan Behera could not be obtained, BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra refused to comment anything on the matter and said that any statements regarding the issue should only come from the Commission.