BHUBANESWAR: Faced with the mammoth task of sorting the claims submitted by lakhs of investors before the Justice RK Patra Commission, the Odisha Government has begun the process for identifying the depositors by building a database of the affidavits.
The affidavits, more than eight lakh in number, will be electronically fed into the database so that the Government initiates the process of disbursing the claims of small investors who had deposited `10,000 or less.
Recently, Chief Secretary, Additional Chief Secretary (Finance), Home Secretary and other senior officers had a meeting with Justice RK Patra over the database management.
The State Government has now formed a six-member project monitoring committee to supervise the database management system. Shortly, tender will be floated to hire data entry operators who will feed the affidavits into a central database.
While the database is aimed at facilitating the inquiry process of the Commission, it will help the Government firm up a plan for disbursal of the claims.
The Odisha Government has set up a `300 crore corpus for disbursal of claims of the aggrieved investors but has not been able to pay as yet.
On the contrary, the West Bengal Government which had constituted up a Probe Commission, headed by Justice Shyamal Sen, after setting up a corpus of `500 crore has managed to repay about four lakh small investors by disbursing over `160 crore after the probe panel identified the small depositors.
While the database creation can take several months, the Government will have a job at hand to verify the genuineness of the claims and the claimants, given the huge number of affidavits received by the Commission of Inquiry whose mandate is to probe the political nexus in the scam.
“If the Government decides to pay back only the small investors, the number of claimants will not be less than three lakh. Verifying the authenticity of such a large number of claimants will be a tough job but the agency, entrusted with the job, can go in for random checks,” said sources in the Finance Department. Interestingly, in West Bengal, hundreds of cheques issued to the investors by the Government returned as the depositors were not available at their addresses.
The chit fund scam which surfaced last year is currently being probed by the CBI. At least 6.5 lakh investors are alleged to have been duped in the State and the mobilisation of deposits by these defrauding firms stands at about `4,300 crore.