BHUBANESWAR: Exposing the politician-scamster nexus for the first time in the chit fund scam in Odisha, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday raided the premises of a sitting Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP and two former legislators who allegedly acted as directors of Nava Diganta Capital Services Pvt Ltd, a Bhubaneswar-based private finance firm.
As many as 20 locations in Mayurbhanj, Khurda, Nayagarh and Keonjhar districts were searched by the investigating agency which seized cash, bank deposits and incriminating documents during the day-long exercise.
At least Rs 28 lakh in cash was recovered from the house of Rama Chandra Hansdah, the Mayurbhanj MP of the ruling party, sources in the CBI said.
Similarly, the search teams found fixed deposits of `22 lakh from the possession of Sanyasi Pradhan, one of the directors of the firm that had started operation in August 2011. A cash of `5 lakh was also seized from the house of Kartikeya Parida, another director.
The CBI, which launched the investigation in both West Bengal and Odisha, also cracked down on the residential premises of Hitesh Kumar Bagartti and Subarna Naik, both former MLAs in Bhubaneswar and Keonjhar. Bagartti was a BJP legislator from Khariar Road, while Naik represented Keonjhar Sadar as a BJD member.
Originally, a case was filed against Nava Diganta Capital Services Ltd on May 27 at Nayapalli Police Station of the City by Bubaneswar-Cuttack Commissionerate Police on charges of swindling crores of rupees from the public. However, no one was arrested.
Following the Supreme Court direction to probe 44 companies in the State as part of the chit fund scam, the premier investigating agency registered a case against Nava Diganta in June. It had named Kartikeya Parida, Pradeep Kumar Pattnaik, Anjan Kumar Baliyarsingh, Hemant Sahu and Bijay Baral __ all directors __ in the FIR.
Although the three political leaders, who have come under CBI scanner, were on the Board of Directors of the firm during the initial periods, they are reported to have relinquished their position once the chit fund scam came to light.
At least 12 teams of the CBI were pressed into search operations which could end up embarrassing the Naveen Patnaik Government given the fact that two of the accused are ruling party members.
The CBI had so far registered 47 cases, including three in West Bengal, in the chit fund scam. While the Economic Offences Wing of Odisha Crime Branch and Bhubaneswar-Cuttack Commissionerate Police were initially investigating into the cases, the State Government has also constituted a commission of inquiry headed by Justice A S Naidu, former judge of the Orissa High Court, to look into the politician-criminal nexus in the chit fund scam.