Odisha court orders attachment and auction of properties of chit fund firm
A court in Cuttack on Friday ordered attachment of Seashore Group's properties worth ₹650 crore over 13 years after the chit fund company defrauded investors in Odisha of ₹578 crore. It ordered that movable and immovable assets of the firm, including 197-acre land, 1.385 kg gold, two quintal silver be attached for their subsequent auctions.
"The court order came after the finance department attached the same in 2013 under the OPID [the Odisha Protection of Interests of Depositors] Act framed to protect the interest of depositors cheated in financial and real estate scams," said special public prosecutor Subrat Mohanty. He said after this, the price of the land would be reassessed as per the benchmark valuation of the state government as the previous assessment was done a decade ago. "The land and other things attached would be auctioned by the competent authority and the money deposited in the bank account. After that the depositors of Seashore who had lost the money in the scam would be identified and compensated."
The group is among 44 chit fund companies facing a Central Bureau of Investigation probe since May 2014 for raising around ₹578 crore from people without listing itself in the stock exchange. Prashant Dash, a 50-year-old former economics lecturer, started the group in 2008. He offered 36% interest per annum to the investors, which was nearly four times the rates offered by the nationalised banks.
Dash was arrested in 2013 and released on bail in 2018.