CBI arrests former OCA secretary Ashirbad Behera

CBI arrests former OCA secretary Ashirbad Behera

The CBI on Thursday arrested former secretary of Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) Ashirbad Behera in connection with his alleged links with Artha Tatwa (AT) group, a chit fund firm accused of duping investors.

Behera, who was the OCA secretary for several years, was picked up by the CBI from his residence in Cuttack and brought to the investigating agency's state headquarters here, agency sources said.

The former OCA secretary has been arrested as he was facing a non-bailable warrant in the case, CBI Superintendent of Police, J N Rana told reporters.

"There is no need for the agency to seek Behera's remand as he has been arrested on the basis of a NBW," he said.

While being whisked away by the CBI team, Behera told reporters that he was arrested in connection with a case registered way back in 2012.

"I will fight it legally," Behera said.

The arrest was made after the Central Bureau of Investigation filed a supplementary chargesheet in the designated court here against Behera and two others on August 29.

The two others were Kamalakanta Das, a representative of a local hotel and Sambit Kumar Khuntia, sources said.

The CBI had on August 16, 2014, raided the OCA office and Behera's residence. The probe agency had interrogated Behera five times suspecting his alleged links with the AT group.

The investigating agency had also interrogated the OCA staff in this connection.

Behera was also questioned twice by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the AT chit fund scam case, sources said.

The case was filed under various sections of the IPC and Prize Chits & Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, 1978, an official said.

Earlier, the CBI had registered the instant case against AT Group and others in compliance with the orders of the Supreme Court passed in May 2014.

During the course of investigation, it was alleged that the OCA through Behera, its the then secretary, had entered into a criminal conspiracy with the AT Group, and promoted the chit fund firm to raise its credibility in the eyes of the general public so that more people invested in the schemes floated by the group.

In lieu of the promotion, the charge sheet mentioned, the OCA allegedly received about Rs 1 crore from the chit fund firm in the garb of sponsorship money for the Odisha Ranji Cricket Team and title sponsorship of Odisha Premier League, 2011.

However, Behera had then clarified that the OCA had spent Rs 75 lakh for appointment of Michael Bevan as coach of the Odisha Ranji team, while around Rs 25 lakh was used for organising the Odisha Premier League.

The expenditure was made in a transparent manner, he had then claimed.

Following Behera's arrest, his son Sanjay Behera alleged that his father was arrested as part of a conspiracy ahead of the ensuing OCA elections, slated to be held on September 27.

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