BHUBANESWAR:Former additional government advocate Debashis Panda, who is now a prosecutor with the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the chit fund scam, appeared before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) here on Thursday.
He was directed by the Orissa High Court on March 25 to depose before the CBI for investigation in connection with the Artha Tatwa (AT) Group scam.
Panda, who arrived at about 10.20 am at the CBI office, was quizzed for close to two hours and a half during which the CBI posed several questions relating to the AT Group scam and if he had any links with the ponzi firm.
He had come under CBI scanner when former Advocate General Ashok Mohanty was held by the CBI last year for buying a property from AT Group chief Pradeep Sethy. Panda is reported to have signed as a witness in the property papers.
The probe agency had reportedly stumbled upon documents pointing to Panda’s links during its raid on former DSP of Crime Branch Pramod Panda. The police officer has been arrested for his alleged links with AT Group.
The former additional government advocate had been served several notices by the CBI for appearance but he had moved the Orissa High Court seeking anticipatory bail apprehending action by the probe agency.
However, the CBI had requested the High Court for permission to interrogate Panda. During the hearing of anticipatory bail petition of Panda last month, the High Court had directed the counsel to appear before the probe agency on April 2 and cooperate with the ongoing investigation.
Panda, however, claimed that he had nothing to do with the scam. “I am innocent. However, since the investigation into the chit fund case is underway, I cannot comment on the issue. You could ask the investigating agency about my appearance,” he said.
Last year, when Panda moved the High Court, the court had granted him an interim protection in October stating that Panda would have to be released on a personal bail bond of Rs 10,000 if CBI arrested him. The protection continues to be in effect.