The Central Bureau of Investigation’s probe into Odisha chit fund scam reached chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s doorstep when the investigating agency summoned one of his personal aide for questioning on Saturday.
Saroj Sahu, who works out of Patnaik’s residence Naveen Niwas and monitors his programmes, was questioned by the CBI for one and a half hour. “I have answered all their queries but cannot reveal what they asked me,” Sahu told reporters after coming out of CBI office.
Sahu’s interrogation comes a day after CBI interrogated Patnaik’s bête noire Rajya Sabha member Pyarimohan Mohan Mohapatra as well as BJD MLA Prabhat Biswal.
Mohapatra was the most powerful man in Odisha after Patnaik until he fell out with the latter in 2012. Accusing Mohapatra of plotting to dethrone him, Patnaik expelled him from BJD.
The chit fund scam in Odisha came to light two years back after many depositors complained that several chit fund companies had cheated them of their hard earned money after promising high returns on their deposits. The Odisha government had ordered a probe into the scam by the state investigation agencies that estimated the scam to be over Rs.4300 crore. In May this year, the Supreme Court ordered the CBI to probe the scam after social activists approached it citing irregularities in investigation by state agencies.
They also alleged that the chit fund companies had swindled more than Rs.20,000 crore, a major chunk of it by two biggest companies Seashore group and Artha Tatwa group. CBI has so far arrested about 30 persons including BJD MP Ramachandra Hansda, MLA Prabhat Tripathy and former MLA Subarna Naik.