BHUBANESWAR: A day after arresting two builders Vineet Lalani and Dilip Mohanty in connection with AT Group scam, the CBI on Thursday zeroed in on at least 12 other builders. The company chief Pradeep Sethy had partnered with them in several housing and land projects in different districts.
"The previous investigating agency (commissionerate of police) had interrogated some builders, including Lalani. We will summon the 12 builders, whose roles are under scanner. During interrogation, Sethy told us that they cheated him in the projects," said a CBI officer.
Sethy had invested more than Rs 70 crore in the real estate business in Bhubaneswar, Khurda, Jatni, Cuttack, Bhadrak and Ganjam. On September 21, CBI arrested builder Dharmendra Bothra for misappropriating AT Group funds. Bothra worked as a middleman between Sethy and BJD's Dharmasala MLA Pranab Balabantray in a 'controversial' land deal. CBI is also looking for some land sharks for forcing Sethy to purchase 'cheap' land at inflated prices. Sethy, who wanted to earn quick buck from real estate business, failed to dispose those land after realizing the real price of the properties.
"Sethy accused his senior employees of conniving with land brokers and politicians to cheat him. He wanted to sell the land in higher rates, but failed to do so because the real market prices of the land were much less than what he paid while buying," said the CBI officer.
While Sethy earlier told the media that he owned nearly 175 acre at different places in Odisha, police located 241 acre under 10 tehsils. Official sources said the property would fetch around Rs 120 crore. Sethy had purchased the land at Rs 250 crore, incurring heavy losses. He owned nearly 140 acre in and around Bhubaneswar alone. Police had sealed AT Group's 139 flats, including 12 in Bhubaneswar. Two duplexes and a few commercial establishments, purchased by Sethy in Bhubaneswar and Kolkata, too were sealed.