The CBI today began interrogating Odisha MLA Pravat Biswal, who has been arrested, on his alleged links with a chit fund company, amidst demonstrations by the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) activists in front of the probe agency’s state headquarters here.
The Bhubaneswar-Cuttack commissioner of police imposed prohibitory orders under section 144, CrPC near the office of the Central Bureau of Investigation as a large number of BJD agitators blocked the main road and attempted to forcefully enter the agency’s headquarters.
A clash also took place between the police and BJD workers near the CBI office, but there was no report of any injury.
Alleging that Biswal was arrested at the instance of the BJP, the BJD activists took out a motorbike rally from Cuttack to the CBI office here.
They staged a sit-in in front of the CBI office, alleging that the probe agency was being “misutilised” by the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre “to settle political scores”.
Sources said Biswal was being quizzed by the Deputy Inspector General (DIG), SIT, Manish Kumar Sinha, in connection with transfer of money to his wife’s bank accounts.
After taking the BJD MLA on remand for five days yesterday, the CBI had, last night, raided three places associated with the lawmaker.
Biswal was arrested by the CBI on Monday night and produced before a special court here yesterday on charges of his alleged links with the Seashore Group.
“Investigations revealed that the said accused (MLA) had allegedly received a huge amount in the bank account of his wife from the CMD of a private group of companies/entities (Seashore), based at Odisha, for their smooth functioning in and around the Cuttack area,” a CBI statement said.
The agency had lodged a case in June, 2014 against the Seashore group of companies and others, pursuant to Supreme Court directions in connection with the chit fund scam.
It was alleged that the group had indulged in raising deposits of more than Rs 1,000 crore from the people by promising a high rate of returns, the CBI statement said.
It was also alleged that after raising crores of rupees, the accused had misappropriated the funds and failed to return the dues as promised to the investors.
The investors had allegedly lost over Rs 500 crore.
The CBI had also filed a charge sheet against the chairman and managing director (CMD) and directors of the Seashore group of companies.
Further investigations are on to look into the larger conspiracy and money trail angles, as mandated by the Supreme Court.