Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Chit Fund Scam: Odisha ex-AG held

Mohanty was arrested from his Cuttack residence in connection with a land deal

The CBI today arrested former Advocate General Ashok Mohanty in connection with the chit fund scam case  and took him on two day remand after producing him in the special chief judicial magistrate court here.

The  CBI counsel had sought a three-day remand while Mohanty’s counsel had moved a bail petition.

Earlier during the day, Mohanty was arrested from his Cuttack residence in connection with a land deal he had done with AT group chief Pradip Sethy. He was brought to the CBI office and questioned before being taken for medical examination and later to the court.

Mohanty  was  questioned on his purchase of a house in Cuttack from Sethy for Rs 1.01 crore in 2013. The payment made and the bank account etc.

Reliable sources said the bank transaction did not reflect the entire amount. Further, the charge is that the former AG had misused his official position in entering in to the transaction with Sethy when he was already facing a police case in the ponzi scam.

Mohanty , known to be a upright person who did not even have a house at Cuttack till he purchased one from Sethy, however said his conscience is clear. “I have complete faith in God and my ‘guru’. Truth shall prevail, I have acted in good faith and I hope people will retain the trust and confidence in me that they have had all these years”.

It may be recalled that Mohanty had been interrogated by the CBI on 13 September. He had insisted that he paid Rs 1.01 crore for the house in CDA and that it was no favor of gift.

True to his character Mohanty had resigned from the AG post after the general elections.

The CM Naveen Patnaik had not accepted his resignation till 12 September, when Mohanty received summons from the CBI.

Significantly, Mohanty’s arrest evoke sharp dissent from lawyers as well as administrative circles here.

Members of the Bar Council decried the arrest. If the CBI claims to have prima facie evidence based on documents, it cannot be tampered with, secondly no witness can be intimidated or gained over nor can a person of Mohanty’s stature abscond , so where is the need for arresting him, said lawyers of the High Court Bar.

The arrest s totally unwarranted, the CBI could have named him in the charge sheet and the court summoned him, they said.

A large section of the people from all walks of life in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar expressed dismay over the arrest.

BJD MP Bhartruhari Mahatab who represents Cuttack LS constituency said the CBI seems to be in the habit of trying to be in the new always by conducting such arrests. It is unwarranted, I know Mohanty since decades, said Mahatab. His party , however, tried to distance itself from Mohanty saying it was a ‘personal party’ not involving the party or the government.

The Opposition Congress and BJP said the government cannot shirk its responsibility. The particular purchase of house by Mohanty had been raised in the Assembly by the Opposition but at that point in time the government ignored it and the police never took any action, charged BJP state president K V Singh Deo.

What was the police doing for the whole of last year when it was investigating the chit fund scam, he asked, implying that the BJD had tired its best to cover up involvement of party leaders and other funcationaries.Speculations are that the CBI will interrogate a few senior police officers and bureaucrats.
The Statesman
23 Sep 2014
Statesman news Service
Bhubaneswar, 22 September

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