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HC rejects advance bail plea of BJD MLA in chit fund case

In a major setback to the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD), the Orissa High Court today refused to grant anticipatory bail to Banki MLA, Pravat Tripathy for his alleged involvement in chit fund scam, thus taking away the interim immunity provided to him since September 30.

Though hearing for the matter was completed on October 16, the judgment came today.

Tripathy had moved the High Court last month seeking a court order restraining the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) from arresting him in chit fund scam case after the agency raided his house and called him for interrogation in connection with his relationship with Pradeep Sethy, the head of chit fund firm, Artha Tatwa (AT) Group.

Tripathy said, he will take a decision whether to move the Supreme Court or not after seeing the court order.

“The verdict does not mean that my fight for justice has ended. I will think about next course of action after seeing the copy of the judgement,” he said.

Tripathy’s name surfaced for the first time last year in chit fund case when an audio clip of his conversation with Sethy was leaked to the media, in which he was reportedly asking favour of AT Group chief for a festival in his constituency- Banki Mahotsav. Though Sethy has been in jail since last year, Tripathy won from Banki in May this year with BJD ticket.

He has been under the scanner of CBI since it started probing the multi-crore chit fund scam from August this year. Apart from interrogating him thrice, the probe agency has also raided the house of his close associate Subas Padhi and branches of two government banks to check his financial transactions.

Anticipating arrest by CBI, Tripathy had moved the court on September 15 and the court had granted him interim relief till end of the hearing process.

The CBI counsel, during arguments, said, since there was prima facie evidence of Tripathy’s link with AT Group chief Pradeep Sethy, the High Court should not grant him anticipatory bail in the interest of fair investigation.

To support its argument of not to grant bail to BJD MLA, it had submitted the audio CD containing conversation of Tripathy and Sethy to the court along with its authenticity certificate obtained from Central Forensic Science Laboratory.



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