Chitgate: Crime Branch tightens noose, raids 150 offices in State

Bhubaneswar: To rein in fly-by-night fund operators following the multi-crore Saradha chit-fund scam, Odisha Crime Branch on Friday conducted a massive crackdown on as many as 150 firms running money circulation schemes across the state.

The CB sleuths along with state police launched simultaneous raids on offices of the financial firms operating in 15 districts and seized various documents, money receipts and computers.

Some employees of the companies were also reportedly detained by the investigating officials for interrogation.

The raids were conducted in Balasore, Sambalpur, Bargarh, Kendrapara, Jharsuguda, Bolangir, Ganjam, Boudh, Kandhamal, Kalahandi, Malkangiri, Rayagada and Sundargarh districts.

“Some 150 branches of financial companies were raided in a bid to verify authenticity of their businesses, RBI and SEBI approval, volume of investment as well as depositors,” Crime Branch ADG B K Sharma said.

Crime Branch raided some 36 offices of various financial companies in Balasore town, Soro, Jaleswar, Baliapal and Bhograi areas of Balasore district alone which has, of late, become a safe haven for deceitful chit fund companies.

The investigation agency, which had prepared a comprehensive roadmap for the crackdown, had apprised SPs and deputy commissioners about the procedures of the raids.

The squad also quizzed some depositors, who have invested their money in Saradha Group’s lucrative schemes.

Meanwhile, Director General of Police (DGP) Prakash Mishra said stringent action would be taken against financial companies swindling money from people on the promise of lucrative returns.

“We have asked all district administrations to keep a vigil on the activities of financial firms. Genuineness of such companies’ business would be verified and strong action would be initiated against fraudulent ones,” Mishra said.