Odisha chit fund scam: Lawyers protest ex-AG's arrest

Odisha chit fund scam: Lawyers protest ex-AG’s arrest

Bhubaneswar, Sep 24 (IANS) Members of the Odisha High Court Bar Association launched a two-day cease-work agitation Wednesday to protest the arrest of former state advocate general Ashok Mohanty by the CBI over his alleged involvement in the chit fund scam.

“The CBI did not follow the procedure while arresting Mohanty. There was no ground for taking him on a two-day remand,” Bidyadhar Pradhan, secretary of the bar association, told reporters.

The body has appealed to all bar associations in the state to cease work Thursday. It will decide the next course of action Friday, Pradhan said.

“Mohanty was neither tampering with the evidence or making inducement hence action by the CBI is highly unwarranted and uncalled for” Bibhu Prasad Tripathy, a high court lawyer, told IANS.

The CBI arrested Mohanty Monday from his home in Cuttack, 26 km from here, for his alleged links with the Artha Tatwa group. Mohanty is currently in CBI custody on a two-day remand.

The CBI is investigating the chit fund scam on the direction of the Supreme Court. The scam came to light after a large number of investors last year complained that many firms collected huge amounts of money from them promising high returns, but later refused to pay them back as promised.

The CBI is probing at least 44 companies in Odisha, including the Kolkata-based Saradha Group and the Odisha-based Seashore and Artha Tatwa groups. The loss from the scam is claimed to be running into thousands of crores of rupees.

Mohanty was earlier interrogated by the CBI Sep 13, a day after he resigned from the advocate general’s post. He was accused of purchasing a house from Artha Tatwa group chief Pradip Sethy through questionable means.

Mohanty said he had a clear conscience and was not involved in any wrongdoing. “I have complete faith on god and my guru. Truth will prevail,” he had told reporters after his arrest Monday.

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