The BJD and the Congress members clashed in the Assembly on Monday over the chitfund scam. The Congress reiterated its demand for a CBI probe, alleging involvement of some BJD leaders in the scam.
However, BJP-backed Independent MLA Pratap Chandra Sarangi created a ripple in the House. Quoting from a ‘newspaper,’ he alleged that ministers Kalpataru Das, Damodar Rout, Surjya Narayan Patro and Arun Sahu, government chief whip Pravat Tripathy and deputy government chief whip Sanjay Dasburma received crores of rupees from Artha Tatwa, a chit fund company. He also dragged the advocate-general into the controversy by alleging he had purchased land from Artha Tatwa group chairman Pradip Sethi when cases had already been filed against him.
Naba Kishore Das (Cong) alleged that the Government implemented several projects in the cooperative and other sectors in partnership with Seashore company, which has defrauded lakhs of people. Reiterating the demand for CBI probe, Santosh Singh Saluja (Cong) warned BJD ministers and MLAs that they will not be protected by Naveen Patnaik for long. Questioning the CB probe into the scam, Saluja alleged that commissions set up by the State Government never yield any result.
Demanding CBI probe into the scam, Leader of the Opposition Bhupinder Singh said the State Government should issue a white paper on activities of chitfund companies.
Stating that the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the CB had so far conducted an impartial inquiry, government chief whip Prabhat Tripathy alleged that many persons, who had not filed their Income Tax returns, have deposited crores of rupees in these companies. He demanded that such persons should not be paid from the corpus fund set up by the State Government.
Supporting Tripathy, his party colleague Ranendra Pratap Swain demanded a probe into the withdrawal of `500 cr in a day by Seashore company. He asked whether the money was withdrawn to create a political crisis in the State and demanded a high level probe. He read from the 18-page letter written by the Sharadha Group chief to the CBI, implicating several top Congress politicians at the Centre. Finance Minister Prasanna Acharya said the Centre has equal responsibility as many of the companies were registered under the Central law. The Odisha Protection of Interest of Depositors (in Financial Establishments) Bill, 2011 has received Presidential assent.