Pilot for criminal investigation into chit fund scam

Bhubaneswar: Corporate Affairs minister Sachin Pilot on Friday said that the Odisha Government must order for criminal investigation into the multi-crore chit fund scam rather than announcing a judicial probe.

Addressing media persons here, the Union Minster said, “Since a judge has no powers to collect evidence for prosecution of the guilty in a court of law, it would have been better to order for criminal investigation rather than a judicial investigation.”

“Forensic investigation in this matter will certainly help the Government to take action against the culprits if the government really wants to return the hard-earned money of the gullible investors who have been duped cores of rupees by the chit fund companies over the years.”

When asked about CBI inquiry into the scam, Pilot said, “It has to be the State Government to ask for such an inquiry like it happened in case of Assam and Tripura. If the Odisha Government writes to us seeking for a CBI inquiry about the chit fund scam, the GOI is open for such cases, provided the request comes from the State Government.”

He stated, “If it is a chit fund company it is the sole prerogative of the State Government to take action against the company in question”.

Responding to queries on recovery of the invested money, Pilot said, “Our primary objective is to recover the money of the investors. But top priority of the State Government should be to explore all available avenues of recovery like freezing of asserts and bank accounts, seizing of property, so that money of the poorest of the poor who have invested can be returned.”

The Union Minister who earlier in the day attended a seminar on ‘Investor Protection and Awareness Programme" and reviewed a meeting with representative of various regulatory authorities, announced to open a Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) in Odisha.

“Now the SFIO will open an office in Odisha. Because in the eastern part of India we need to have a presence so that we can also assist the State Government in doing some of the investigations and give them legal inputs to make a strong against the people who run these chit fund companies,” stated he.