Odisha chit fund probe panel extends deadline

Bhubaneswar, Sep 17 : A commission probing the multi-crore-rupee chit fund scam in Odisha has extended the deadline for submission of complaints till Sep 30 as more people are coming ahead with grievances, a commission official said Tuesday.

The one-man panel led by R.K. Patra, former chief justice of the Sikkim High Court, had earlier fixed Sep 18 as the deadline.

Since large numbers of people were still coming in with complaints, the commission decided to extend the deadline to Sep 30 to provide an opportunity to those left out, he told IANS.

"More than 2,000 people came Monday alone to the office of the commission to file affidavits," the official said.

The commission will also ask the state government to provide more space as more than half of its office rooms are already filled with affidavits and documents, he said.

"We have been given four rooms and two of them are already filled with documents. We want more space to store new complaints. Besides, we also need a hall to conduct the hearing," he said.

The scam came to light after many investors last year complained that several firms collected huge amounts of money from them, promising high returns, but later refused to pay them back as promised.

The economic offence wing of the Odisha Police Crime Branch is investigating the allegations.

Although police raided offices of several such companies and arrested many people for irregularities, the government in May announced a judicial probe after coming under criticism from opposition parties.

It had requested the Odisha High Court to spare a sitting judge. The government later asked Patra to head the panel after the high court turned down its request.

The companies accused of duping people include the Kolkata-based Saradha Group, and Odisha-based Seashore and Artha Tatwa groups. The loss from the scam is claimed to be running into crores of rupees.

The state government announced in July that it would create a corpus fund of Rs.300 crore to help the duped investors.

--IANS (Posted on 17-09-2013)

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