With the Odisha Protection of Depositors and Investors (in Financial Establishments) Bill receiving Presidential assent, the Odisha Government on Wednesday began the groundwork for implementing the legislation.
With the Act expected to be published in the Gazette in the next couple of days, all the search, seizure and confiscation will now come under its ambit and a major task before the Government would be to set in motion the liquidation process on which a large number of investors are pinning their hopes on.
Since the provisions would necessitate establishment of designated courts, top officials of Home and Law departments as well as Crime Branch met and discussed an entire gamut of issues here. It has been tentatively decided that courts would be set up in places where concentration of cases is high __ such as Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Balasore, Berhampur, Rourkela and Sambalpur.
Similarly, appointment of public prosecutors, with at least 10 years of experience and exposure in conducting such cases, was also discussed threadbare.
The Government will also be required to entrust the management of search and seizure with an officer in each of these places where the courts would be established. An ADM-ranked officer would be appointed as the competent authority for evaluation, liquidation and management of the proceeds.
A major challenge before the Government would be to ensure that old cases are brought under the ambit of the Act so that the depositors and investors would be benefited. This would require a legal instrumentality which is being examined by the Government. Since the Crime Branch would be implementing the Act, it has also been asked to study the issues in detail so that the purpose of the Act is served and duped investors/depositors are financially compensated.
The EOW has, so far, booked 22 chit fund companies in the last two years. As many as 355 cases have been registered during 2012 and 2013 by both the EOW and the District Police. A total of 485 persons have been arrested in connection with the chit fund scam which rocked the State earlier this year.
“Now that the Act is in place and a legal instrument is available to pay back the depositors, the process is being put in motion,” Additional Director General, CB, Bijay Sharma said.