BHUBANESWAR: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the multi-hundred crore ponzi scam continues to unravel the chit fund companies’ penchant for acquiring space in the media world. On Monday, the probe agency grilled the Editor of a Delhi-based fortnightly for his link with Seashore Group of companies.
Santosh Pandey, who reportedly owns and edits the newspaper, was interrogated for about seven hours by CBI sleuths. While he did not answer any media queries, sources said, Pandey was in a tie-up with Seashore Group for expanding the territory of his newspaper.
While the fortnightly in question has presence in seven cities of the country, including in Delhi, Maharashtra and Bihar, Pandey had been approached by Seashore for offices in Odisha. While there was a deal of about `5 crore for the new editions, it was not clear how much money had changed hands.
Sources said Pandey had evinced interest in setting up offices in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Rourkela. He was quizzed on three more occasions in the past.
Interestingly, the Prashant Dash-headed Seashore Group already had a TV channel as well as a literary journal but the fortnightly was apparently a move to make a place in the English language newspapers.
Owning the media has been a trend with the ponzi firm owners. If Saradha Group’s Sudipto Sen had invested in TV as well as print medium in the neighbouring West Bengal, in Odisha, Artha Tatwa Group and Seashore Group have also followed suit.
AT Group, headed by Pradeep Sethy, had a tie-up with Kamyab TV for establishing a TV channel in the State. Manoj Dash, the owner of Kamyab TV, is in jail for a money transaction of `90 lakh with Sethy. Similarly, Micro Finance Ltd, another non-banking finance company accused in the scam, also has a TV channel.