Uncertainty over judicial probe into ponzi scam in State

Bhubaneswar: Uncertainty prevailed over the judicial inquiry into multi-crore chit fund scam in the state today after Orissa High Court turned down the state government's request to spare a sitting judge for the probe.
Orissa High Court in a letter to the state home department has informed about its decision not to spare any sitting judge to head the inquiry commission as desired by the state government.
Earlier Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on May 30 had announced a judicial probe into the chit fund scam and requested the High Court to suggest the name of a sitting judge to head the panel.
The high court rejected the state government's request based on a Supreme Court judgement in 2006 which put restrictions on engagement of sitting judges of different high courts in inquiry commissions.
Reacting to the High Court's rejection, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said "We will follow it. The state government will do what best can be done." 
Sources said the state government was examining other options on setting up a judicial commission for probing the ponzi scam. A retired high court judge may be appointed to head the panel as the state government has already set a deadline of three months for completing the inquiry.
Opposition Congress and BJP which had rejected the state government's decision to set up a judicial commission to probe into the chit fund scam, reiterated their demand of a CBI investigation into the multi-crore financial fraud allegedly committed with political patronage of the ruling BJD.
Meanwhile, Crime Branch of Odisha Police grilled Seashore Group CMD Prasant Das for three hours to ascertain facts about loot of crores of rupees from depositors.
"We have extracted certain information. But those cannot be shared with media at this juncture," said a senior CB officer.
According to latest information available with the investigating agency, Seashore Group had allegedly collected about Rs 1,000 crore from people across the state. The CB had seized properties worth about Rs 200 crore in possession of the Seashore Group, sources said.