CBI court frames charges against senior BJD leader in chit fund case
The court has also framed charges against the BJD leader’s wife, who allegedly received ₹25 lakh from the chit fund company over a land deal
Six years after his arrest in the Seashore chit fund scam, a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Bhubaneswar on Saturday framed charges against senior Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader and former MLA Pravat Biswal under several sections of the Indian Penal Code.
The CBI court-1 in Bhubaneswar framed charges against Biswal and his wife Laxmi Bilasini Biswal under sections 420, 120(b), 409, 467, 468 and 471 of IPC over their land deal between Seashore Group and Biswal’s wife, who allegedly received ₹25 lakh from the chit fund company over a land deal.
In April this year, the Orissa high court had turned down Biswal’s request for dropping his name from the chargesheet and instead asked the CBI court to frame charges within two months.
The Seashore Group wanted to purchase a land from the Biswals and deposited ₹25 lakh in the bank account of the BJD leader. However, the deal was later cancelled and the company demanded the money back. Though Biswal and his wife claimed that they had returned the money to the company, the documents showing the return of money were allegedly forged.
The chargesheet stated that Seashore CMD Prashant Dash and his brother Prabhat embezzled around ₹578.2 crore, collected from investors between 2006 and 2011.
The Seashore group of companies such as Seashore Securities Ltd, Seashore Agriculture Promotion Company Pvt. Ltd. and Seashore Portfolio Management Services Ltd accepted deposits over ₹578 crore from all over Odisha without the permissions of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
It worked like a pyramid style marketing scheme. Soon after it started, the group grew fast and partnered with government in healthcare, tourism and cooperative sector, but most of these partnerships did not help the government as Seashore never had the requisite expertise and know-how to run the new business.
Last year, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) attached movable and immovable assets worth Rs. 3.92 crore of Biswal under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
After his arrest, Biswal was denied BJD ticket in 2019 assembly election. His son Souvic Biswal instead got the party ticket from Choudwar-Cuttack assembly constituency and won.