Odisha chit fund investors seek package

Investors duped by chit fund companies in Odisha have demanded a financial package from the state government similar to the one announced in West Bengal.

“The Odisha government should come out with a special financial package like its West Bengal counterpart so that at least we can get back some of our lost money. The package would immensely help small investors,” a group of investors who held a demonstration in the state capital said.

They also demanded a detailed inquiry into the links these chit fund companies had with politicians, bureaucrats and other bigwigs. After his arrest, Pradip Sethi, the chairman-cum-managing director of Artha Tatwa (AT), had claimed that he had paid Rs 75 crore to several politicians and journalists from the state as bribes for protection.

Investors have alleged that Sethi and his associates had lured them by flashing his photographs with a former Odisha governor and several leading politicians from the state.

They (Sethi and his men) had also shown investors news items in local newspapers where some ministers had praised the AT group.

Meanwhile, the Odisha unit of the Congress has demanded the state government to appoint a special investigation team under the supervision of a retired High Court judge to conduct a thorough probe into the scam.

“My fear is that powerful people had provided protection to these chit fund companies and the people have a right to know their identities,” senior Congress leader and former pradesh Congress committee president Niranjan Patnaik said in a letter to the chief minister.

The letter also stated that poor depositors across the state had suffered huge losses due to laxity by law enforcement agencies that facilitated non-banking financial companies to continue their operations without fear.

Meanwhile, the state unit of the Aam Admi Party also held a demonstration here and demanded a CBI probe.

“The illegal activities by chit fund companies had been continuing for years together under full public glare but no action was taken to curb the menace. The authorities must be held responsible for criminal negligence,” the party said in a statement.

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