BHUBANESWAR: The economic offence wing (EOW) of the state Crime Branch on Monday arrested a real estate promoter here on charges of cheating a number of defence personnel of nearly Rs 35 crore with the false promise of giving them land in the city.
The accused was identified as Pradipta Kumar Barik, 52, of Surangapur under Delang police limits in Puri district. EOW sources said Barik was arrested from a hotel located near the Bhubaneswar railway station.
On August 28, the EOW had arrested the mastermind behind the fraud, Purna Chandra Panda, the managing director of Brookson Infrastructure Pvt Ltd. "A Delhi-based company had floated land and housing schemes for defence and ex-defence personnel in Bhubaneswar. The company had joined hands with Panda and Barik. They collected money from people, but did not provide them the promised land or houses," said an EOW officer.
The Delhi-based company's chairman is a retired army officer and a Kirti Chakra awardee, EOW sources said. "A total of 542 serving and retired defence personnel from Odisha and other states paid Rs 35 crore to the company, which claimed to have floated land and housing schemes near Chandaka in 2011. The beneficiaries were assured they would get possession of their property by June 2012," the officer said.
The company roped in Brookson Infrastructure to develop a colony on 27 acres named 'Defence Intercity Vatika' near Chandaka. Each beneficiary who paid the cost of the land as per the measurements to the company, paid an extra Rs 25,000 directly to Panda as fee for registration of the land.
In July, a retired defence officer lodged a complaint with the EOW and alleged that neither the company nor Panda had given them the plots. "When the beneficiaries approached the company, they were told to wait. Panda, too, did not pay heed," said another EOW officer.
On July 27, the EOW registered a cheating case against Panda. "During interrogation, Panda told us that the company had paid him Rs 19.62 crore of the total collection of Rs 35 crore. Our team will go to Delhi to interrogate the chairman of this company and other functionaries about the transactions," the officer said.
EOW sources said the 27-acre property in Chandaka is mired in a legal dispute. "Panda is not owner of the land. We are verifying the land records. We will take Panda in remand for further questioning," the officer added.