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HC grants temporary relief to BJD MLA in chit fund case

In a temporary reprieve to BJD MLA and former government chief whip Pravat Tripathy, who was quizzed by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in a chit fund scam case, the Odisha High Court today granted him protection from arrest by the probe agency till October 13.

The CBI that is probing the multi-million crore rupees chit fund scam, is investigating Tripathy’s alleged links with the Ponzi firm operator Artha Tatwa (AT) Group, among other influential people from the field of politics, business and media.

“The court ruled that CBI cannot arrest Tripathy till October 13. His plea for anticipatory bail will be taken up at the next hearing”, said Pitambar Acharya, Tripathy’s counsel.

Acharya said, the CBI counsel failed to produce any material that would warrant Tripathy’s arrest. The only thing he could produce was an audio recording that cannot be taken as an admissible evidence, he added.

It may be noted that the HC had yesterday reserved its order after hearing the bail plea of Tripathy. Last month, the BJD leader had filed a petition seeking anticipatory bail, apprehending arrest by the CBI.

The court has asked Tripathy to extend cooperation to the CBI in its probe and also keep the agency informed on his travel plans.

Further, the HC has instructed CBI to submit the forensic lab report of the audio clip wherein the BJD MLA is purportedly speaking to AT Group chief Pradeep Sethi. The report would establish if the voice in the audio matched with that of Tripathy’s voice recorded by the CBI during interrogation.

Earlier, the CBI sleuths had raided the houses of Tripathy and his associates at Banki and Cuutack, apart from seizing documents from Central Cooperative Bank, Banki, where one of his close associate had his account.

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