Chitgate: Bigwigs quizzed for alleged links with AT Group

Bhubaneswar: The much-awaited interrogation of 22 businessmen, media entrepreneurs, sports administrators and others for alleged links with the controversial Artha Tatwa group got underway here on Monday with Odia daily Suryaprabha’s owner Bikash Swain deposing first before the cops.
Swain came fully prepared with documents to prove that AT Group was connected with Suryaprabha only for publication of advertisements and there were no further financial dealings between them. Swain told reporters that AT Group had paid Rs 65-lakh to Suryaprabha for publication of advertisements and another Rs 50 lakh payment was due from AT group.
 “After AT was asked to pay the remaining Rs 50 lakh for which Suryaprabha had already published advertisements, AT group is resorting to blackmailing tactic,” Swain told reporters. The interrogation is being done in Kharavela police station of Bhubaneswar.
Similarly, Manoj Das who deposed on behalf of his wife Lipi Das, who is a known television entrepreneur, told reporters that AT group had paid Rs 90-lakh for a business deal to utilize his company’s teleports.

Manoj Das told reporters, “Since AT Group concluded the deal and later did not use the facilities, the money could not be returned. It’s akin to reserving Kalyan Mandap for hosting a marriage and later the ceremony gets cancelled. AT group planned to launch six TV channels for which this agreement was signed.”
As part of earlier summon served on last Saturday, 11 persons were asked to be present before Commissionerate Police today to clarify their stand. Sources said 9 persons appeared before the investigating officer till late evening and the questioning would continue till 11 pm tonight.

Meanwhile Crime Branch sleuths today sealed one guest house of Seashore Group, accused of misappropriating crores of public money, at Patrapada on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar. The sleuths had yesterday sealed a firm house of the company located at Barala village in Satyabadi block of Puri district.