Chit fund scam: Public notice served to 576 firms

Bhubaneswar: As many as 576 companies were issued public notice by the Justice MM Das Commission of Inquiry through newspapers for failing to depose before it in connection with the multi-crore chit fund scam.

As per reports, the Commission has issued notices in two phases asking the companies to appear before it between April 15 and September 24. In the first phase, the Commission has issued notice to 199 companies whose address and information of owners are available. Similarly, 377 other companies, addresses of which are not available with the Commission, have also been asked to appear before it.

In his reaction, Milita Khyatigrasta Jamakari Manch convener Jayant Das said, “No one has stopped the commission to serve notice since 2013. As far as I know, the terms of reference have not mentioned that the Commission can decide on refund to depositors. So far, it has only recommended the State government to take a decision regarding refund to small depositors.”

Meanwhile, the development has now sparked off a political mudslinging between the State and Centre.

Odisha Finance Minister Sashi Bhusan Behera who was shocked to hear about such a huge number of chit fund firms operating in the State said, “Chit fund scam is a national issue and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitely has himself accepted about the flaws in the multi-State Cooperative policies that favoured the scam to spread more.

However, BJP leader Golak Mohapatra said the move is a new drama by the BJD government to play blame game against the Centre.

“The ruling party had looted crores of rupees from depositors and when questions have been raised over the return of the money, it is trying to slip away by blaming the Union government,” said Mohapatra.

The Odisha government had extended the tenure of the MM Das Commission by six months. The Commission of Inquiry was initially formed with a stipulated tenure of four years, but its term has now been extended to 54 months.

The Commission has so far identified 2, 18,354 small depositors with deposits of less than Rs 10,000 who have filed affidavits.