Land scam: Hi-Tech Group chief deposits Rs 9 cr in SC

New Delhi/Bhubaneswar: Well-known builder and chairman of the Hi-Tech Group Tirupati Panigrahi on Monday deposited Rs 9 crore in the Supreme Court.

The court will have its next hearing of the case on December 1.

With this, Panigrahi has now deposited Rs 47 crore. He will have to pay another Rs 16.5 crore as per the directive of the apex court.

By July 6 this year, Panigrahi had deposited Rs 38 crore in two instalments. The apex court, in May, had asked him to deposit the rest Rs 25.5 crore in four months.

It may be recalled that the Economic Offences Wing (EoW) of the Odisha Crime Branch had arrested Tirupati and his two relatives and the directors of the Hi-Tech group— Tirupati Choudhury and Madhusudan Panigrahi— on December 25, 2012 for failing in their promise in providing residential plots to people after taking money from them in 2009.

In course of its investigation, the EOW had found that the Hi-tech Group owed more than Rs 315.96 crore to the investors.

The Group had received money from 17,181 investors with a promise of providing them with residential plots. While it had managed to allot plots to 280 investors, the remaining 16,901 investors did not get the plot during specified time frame. The harassed investors later lodged a complaint with the Crime Branch. Acting on the complaint the EOW of the Crime Branch arrested the trio.

The EOW, so far, has registered at least five cases against the Hi-Tech Group.

The Supreme Court had granted bail to Tirupati in February last year with a condition to refund Rs 63.55 crore to investors.

Hearing the land fraud case, it turned down the plea of Panigrahi, who had sought at least six months to start the process to refund the amount to investors.

The Hi-Tech chief owns real estate firms, two private medical colleges and several professional educational institutes at different places of Odisha.