BHUBANESWAR: Two media house owners are the latest arrests by the CBI in Odisha’s multi crore Artha Tatwa chit fund scam as more high-profile people are being connected to the case.
Manoj Dash and Madhu Mohanty, one an owner of a private news channel, the other an Odisha newspaper owner are accused of accepting bribes from the Pradeep Sethi, chief of the Artha Tatwa group that stands accused of swindling investors of hundreds of crores in the last few years
The first FIR on this case was registered in 2013 with the alleged Kingpin Sethi being arrested a few months ago.
But with CBI now having taken over the investigation, the spotlight has now turned on to connections of the scamsters with key people in Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janta Dal government.
On September 11, one of Naveen Patnaik’s closest advisors, the BJD’s parliamentary board head in the Rajya Sabha , Kalpataru Das , stepped down from his post. His son who is a sitting member of the assembly was interrogated for many hours by the CBI.
The former Advocate General of Odisha, Ashok Mohanty resigned last week after allegations surfaced that he had accepted a luxury house built on nearly 4000 square feet of land in Cuttack from the Sethi. Mohanty has denied the allegations and said he has proof to show he bought the house from the Artha Tatwa group.
In August this year, the CBI raided the residence of senior BJD MLA Prabhat Tripathy , who is accused of sending funds from the Artha Tatwa group for cultural shows . Tripathy has claimed he has nothing to do with Artha Tatwa
Investors who lost lakhs in the scam say for them fixing accountability is as important as recovering their money.
Bhaskar Panigrahi, a 70 year old from Balasore , had deposited 13 lakhs with Artha Tatwa group, from his provident fund and by selling of agricultural land.
“During Naveen Patnaik Government these Chits fund companies started operating in Odisha. So Naveen Patnaik Govt is solely responsible for this incident. His Government has to pay back to the duped investors and Naveen himself should return the money to us by selling his property so that Duped poor investors will be relieved,” he says.