Return of money to chit fund investors yet to begin

Bhubaneswar: Even after four months, the Odisha government has not taken any concrete steps to identify the small and genuine investors and return their money which they had invested in the chit fund companies.

For identification of the chit fund investors, the Finance Department had issued a guideline on October 16 last year in which it had asked the investors to apply to the Additional District Magistrate (ADM) or a designated authority in a specific format.

Realising that there has been inordinate delay in the process, chief secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi, in a high-level meeting on February 8, had asked the Odisha Computer Application Centre (OCAC) to prepare an online application software by March 15.

On the other hand, the Joint Investors’ Forum has alleged that the state government has not shown any sincerity in identifying the investors.

“This is a farce of the government. Whenever we decide to take action, it says it has started the process. We know that the government is not concerned over the plight of the investors. We have repeatedly told the government to start the process of identifying the investors at the tehsil level so that the genuine investors in the tehsil and village areas are identified,” Anuradha Subuddhi, convener of Joint Investors’ Forum, told OTV.

As per the guideline, the government will prepare a list of duped investors. After the list is prepared, the ADM will send the list either to the Crime Branch or the Investigating Officer (IO) who will tally the list with its database. After consulting the district collector and SP, a team will be formed which will verify the address of the investors. The list of the investors would be affixed in the panchayat, NAC and Municipality offices.

Meanwhile, Opposition political parties have strongly criticised the inaction of the government in this regard.

“The assurance of the government is like a mirage as it always tries to buy time. Going by the manner in which the Chit Fund Commission is examining the application of the investors, I don’t think that the investors would get back their money during their life time,” senior Congress leader and leader of the Opposition Narasingh Mishra said.

Taking a swipe at the state government, BJP leader Sajjan Sharma said instead of acting on the recommendation of the Chit Fund Commission, initiating the process of investigation by the ADM and taking any steps to release the Rs 300 crore corpus fund to be given to the duped investors, the government has tried its best to mislead them.

“Instead of solving one issue, the government is creating another issue to the utter frustration of the chit fund investors,” he pointed out.

Countering the allegations of the Opposition, BJD spokesperson Samir Dash said the delay was due to the preparation of the proforma.

“The state government has directed the concerned authorities to complete the proforma at the earliest. In spite of the delay, the government has taken steps to refund the invested money of the small investors,” he added.