Chit fund scam inquiry committee gets 7 lakh affidavits

Chit fund scam inquiry committee gets 7 lakh affidavits

The Justice R K Patra commission of inquiry probing the multi-crore chit fund scam in Odisha has received a whopping seven lakh affidavits from duped investors and others, prompting it to extend the deadline for the third time.

The commission had fixed September 30 as the last date for filing of affidavits and nearly a lakh of them were submitted at the eleventh hour. “There was a huge gathering in front of the commission’s office to submit the affidavits on the last day. It was just like a sea of people,” a highly placed official source in Cuttack said on Tuesday, where the important one-man judicial probe panel had opened its office.

Keeping in mind the response from the duped investors, the commission has now extended the last day of filing of affidavits till October 31. This is the third time the deadline for filing of affidavits have been extended.

The state government had announced the formation of the judicial commission under Justice Patra, a former chief justice of the Sikkim High Court and a former chairperson of the Odisha Human Rights Commission on July 9. The panel which began its work on August 5 had fixed August 31 as the last date for filing of affidavits. Subsequently, it was extended to September 8 and again up to September 30.

The commission had been directed to submit its probe report as early as possible. However, observers believe that the completion of the probe may take some time as scrutinising such a huge number of affidavits will not be an easy job. The commission is to start its hearing after going through all the affidavits.

The crime branch of the state police which is separately investigating the more than Rs 4,000-crore scam has already arrested nearly two hundred people and seized the offices and properties of the tainted chit-fund companies across the state.

The arrested include a few high profile owners of chit-fund farms. The Naveen Patnaik government has promised the investors to return their money by selling the seized assets of the chit fund companies with the help of a new state law which had recently got the approval of the Central government and the president. The state government has also announced the setting up of a Rs 300-crore corpus fund.

However, the Patnaik administration has so far not accepted the Opposition’s persistent demand to order a CBI probe into the mega scam, saying that further action should be kept on hold till the judicial commission completes its inquiry.

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