Odisha Police seize BMW, Jaguar cars from chitfund companies

Bhubaneswar: A day after police seized an imported Jaguar car owned by Pradip Sethi, CMD of a chitfund company, Crime Branch of Odisha Police on Friday impounded a BMW car of Prasant Das, CMD of another firm even as state government held a high level meeting to review the situation.
"The Economic Offence Wing of the Crime Branch has seized the BMW car owned by Prasant Das, CMD of Seashore Group which allegedly duped above Rs 1,500 crore from small investors," a senior Crime Branch official said, adding it had already attached some bank accounts of Das.
The Crime Branch action came a day after Union Minister and senior Congress leader Srikant Jena alleged Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's link with the Seashore Group CMD.
Patnaik had shared dais with Das and two other party MPs at a function of Seashore Group in 2011, Jena had claimed, adding the chitfund company got "patronage" from ruling BJD.
The city police which arrested Pradip Sethi, CMD of Artha Tatwa on remand, had yesterday seized his Jaguar car. The car worth Rs 1.30 crore was suspected to have been purchased with the money of small investors, police said.
Sethi was in police custody for interrogation.
Meanwhile, Chief Secretary B K Patnaik held a high-level meeting on the chitfund issue attended by finance secretary Jugal K Mohapatra and ADG, Crime Branch, B K Sharma.
"We have discussed the steps taken against chitfund companies and feel a proper legislation will help to protect the investors," Patnaik said.
Stating that the state Assembly had already passed Odisha Protection of Interests of Depositors (in financial establishments) Bill- 2011, the Chief Secretary said: "We are hopeful the Bill will get President's assent within a month."
Patnaik said once the Bill gets President's assent, the state government would be able to recover money from the chitfund companies and distribute them among investors.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had recently written a letter to Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde to ensure early assent to the Bill.