The CBI on Thursday filed a charge sheet before the special CBI court in Bhubaneswar against 16 persons and seven companies in connection with its probe against the state’s second biggest chit fund company Artha Tatwa (AT) group.
Ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MLA Prabhat Tripathy, former Odisha advocate general Ashok Mohanty, AT group chief Pradip Sethy and his Mumbai-based business partner and model Preeti Bhatia are among those charge-sheeted by the agency.
The charge sheet has been filed against them under IPC sections related to criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, forgery, cheating and dishonestly receiving stolen properties (Section 120B, 406, 409, 411, 420, 468, 471) and under sections (Section 4,5 and 6) of Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act. This is the first charge sheet submitted by the CBI since it took over investigation into the scam. It has registered 44 cases against an equal number of chit fund companies in the state.
The chit fund scam in Odisha came to light in 2011. The state ordered an inquiry by the state police and crime branch, which estimated that the scam involved Rs. 4,373 crore. But, alleging that the government was trying to shield influential people, activists moved the Supreme Court demanding a CBI inquiry, following which the agency took over the investigation.