Odisha moves to attach Saradha group's properties

Bhubaneswar, Nov 18 : Odisha Police Monday initiated process of confiscating properties of Kolkata-based Saradha group in the state in connection with the multi-crore-rupee chit fund scam, an official said.

The police crime branch submitted a proposal to the state government seeking interim orders for attaching properties of the group, Deputy Inspector General of the economic offences wing (EOW) at the crime branch, Rajesh Kumar, told IANS.

The group, which was operating in Odisha since 2010, has allegedly duped thousands of investors mostly in the coastal belt of the state.

In May, the crime branch sealed several offices of the group and arrested two of its employees. The employees are still behind bars.

Police also subsequently seized 14 acres of land owned by the group mostly in Balasore district.

"We have submitted a proposal to the state government seeking interim orders for attaching the properties of the group in the state," Kumar said.

The crime branch earlier this month submitted a similar proposal seeking attachment of money and properties of the Bhubaneswar-based Seashore Group, comprising many companies, in the multi-crore-rupee chit fund scam.

Kumar said the proposals were submitted under the Odisha Protection of Interests of Depositors (in Financial Establishments) Act, 2011, which received presidential nod in August.

The government will study the proposals and issue ad-interim attachment orders and send it for execution to the competent authority.

Within 30 days, the competent authority shall make a prayer to the designated court for making these ad-interim orders absolute.

The designated court will conduct hearing and pass an order within 180 days. If the court passes an absolute order, the money and properties would be used to compensate investors, he said.

The Saradha Group went bust in April after running a ponzi scheme that is estimated to have duped over one million people. The loss from the scam is estimated at over Rs.1,000 crore.

In Odisha alone, the loss from the Saradha Group scam is about Rs.70 crore, according to preliminary estimates.

Odisha began a probe into the operations of the group after hundreds of depositors protested in the coastal towns of Balasore and Puri in April, alleging that the group collected money from them promising high returns but failed to keep its promise.

--IANS (Posted on 18-11-2013)

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