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SIT initiates chit fund probe process

Senior official of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today met top bureaucrats of state government and sought support regarding establishment and functioning of an office for the Special Investigation Team (SIT) that will probe scam tainted chit fund companies as directed by the Supreme Court.

CBI Joint Director and head of SIT, Rajeev Singh today held a detailed discussion with Chief Secretary, Jugal Kishir Mohapatra, Home Secretary, V K Saxsena, Additional DG (Crime Branch) Bijay Kumar Sharma and others here to expedite the investigation process.

SIT has asked for deployment of police personnel from Odisha police, an office space and vehicles along with other infrastructure facilities for the functioning of its office in the city. Though the Odisha unit of the CBI is not part of the probe team, the SIT will seek their assistance as and when required, sources said.

The SIT has been constituted as per an order issued by Supreme Court on May 9, when the court directed the CBI to initiate probe into chit fund scams in four states. On Odisha, the court said, the CBI will investigate cases against 44 chit fund companies and can bring other companies, which were not in the primary list, under the scanner later if it felt the need to do so.

Though the state government has already started taking action against some companies through the economic offences wing (EOW) of state police (crime branch), the top court had said, the state police have not yet been able to trace the money trails that clearly had an inter-state as well as possible international links.

While passing orders regarding CBI probe, the apex court said, it wanted the chit fund scam in West Bengal, Assam and Odisha to be probed by an independent agency like CBI because of involvement of politicians and influential persons in the cases. It had asked the Enforcement Directorate to join CBI in finding the money trail. The ED is already conducting a probe into the scam.  

In another related development, the EOW of the state police today sought consent of the Finance Department to confiscate properties belonging to Ashore Group. Sources said, the state investigating agency has proposed to confiscate 28 acres of land and Rs 85 lakh cash belonging to the company. With this, the state police has initiated action to confiscate properties of 10 chit fund companies in the state.

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