Odisha Finance Minister faces protests in Surat

Surat/Bhubaneswar: Duped depositors of chit fund companies today protested Odisha Finance Minister Sashi Bhusan Behera in Surat during his visit to Gujarat.

Demanding immediate refund of money, the protestors held placards and banners and shouted slogans against Behera, who was in Surat to attend a meeting at the Chambers of Commerce at Nanpura.

Under the aegis of Prabasi Chit Fund Jamakari Mahasangh, Odisha Mazdoor Sangh and Surat Odia Shramik Mahasangh, protestors staged demonstration and shouted slogans. They alleged no steps are being taken to refund depositors of chit fund companies especially that of Oscar chit fund.

“Odisha-based chit fund companies have duped poor Odia people in Surat. The Finance minister cannot attend any programme in Surat. First of all he should ensure return of money of poor depositors,” said an agitator.

Echoing similar views, another protestor asked, “The Odisha government did not take any action against pozi firms. After so many years why the minister is visiting Surat? Does he want to play politics?”

On the other hand, Behera said the Odisha government has begun the process of refunding small depositors. The protest is fallout of a false propaganda against the ruling-BJD.

“This is a politically-motivated campaign against the BJD government as the process to refund small depositors has already begun. While people of Odisha are assured about that, some people here are trying to politicse the matter,” the Finance Minister stated.

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Oscar chit fund company reportedly had 45 branches in Gujarat apart from operations in Odisha and Maharashtra. In Gujarat alone, the firm has reportedly defrauded more than Rs 100 crore from Prabasi Odias.

Oscar company head Prabhas Rout, Muna Patra, Deepak Khetri and two others have been arrested.